Getting out of jail ‘would be a nice Christmas present,’ his lawyer says
Leo Crockwell has one wish for Christmas — to get out of jail. That’s what he’ll try to convince a judge to grant him later this month when he brings his case to Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
Leo Crockwell. — Telegram file photo
Crockwell — who was sentenced to four years in prison as a result of an armed standoff with police at his family’s home in Bay Bulls — has filed an application claiming adult corrections and prison administrators miscalculated his sentence and, as a result, have kept him behind bars longer than he should have been.
According to Crockwell’s estimation, he should have been released from jail four months ago.
Defence lawyer Nick Westera is representing Crockwell in the application, which is filed against Dean Gambin, the province’s director of adult corrections, and Graham Rogerson, the province’s superintendent of prisons.
Westera was in court Friday when the case was called to set a date for the hearing. Crockwell opted not to show up for the brief appearance.
Westera told Justice Donald Burrage that Crockwell wants the issue dealt with as soon as possible.
“Every day he spends waiting is a day, in our estimation, is a day he shouldn’t be in custody,” Westera said. “He’s hoping this will be dealt with before Christmas.”
However, Department of Justice lawyer David Rodgers, who is representing the respondents, said he wouldn’t be available until February.
Westera objected to waiting that long. Burrage agreed and suggested Rodgers reorganize his schedule.
“If Mr. Westera is correct and Mr. Crockwell will be sitting in custody when he ought not to be, leaving it to the new year compounds the problem,” the judge said.
Westera added Crockwell wants nothing more than to get the issue settled and be freed.
“It would be a nice Christmas present for Mr. Crockwell,” he said.
Rodgers said he would work something out and the lawyers agreed to set the hearing for Dec. 19.
Crockwell barricaded himself inside his family’s home in Bay Bulls in December 2010. It resulted in an eight-day standoff with RCMP officers.
On the night of Dec. 10, 2010, Crockwell slipped undetected out a side window. He was arrested the next day without incident about 18 kilometres away after the RNC was tipped off by a couple, who had given him a ride.
On June 1, 2012, a jury convicted Crockwell of four charges — assaulting his sister with a weapon (a gun), discharging a weapon in the commission of a crime, carelessly using a firearm and mischief by interfering with property.
On Feb. 15, Justice Richard LeBlanc sentenced Crockwell to a global sentence of four years (1,460 days), with three years’
probation. Crockwell was given straight-time credit for the
797 days he’d already spent in custody.
According to corrections’ calculations, Crockwell is due to be released in May 2014, when two-thirds of his remaining time has been served.
Crockwell’s application states the proper way to work out his sentence would be to calculate two-thirds of the total sentence. That would mean the 58-year-old was supposed to be freed from jail in August of this year.
Outside court, Westera said, legislation “is all over place” on the issue.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens,” he said.