Leo Crockwell is a free man.
The 58-year-old walked out of Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s at 7:55 p.m. Friday after serving more time behind bars than he was supposed to serve.
While it’s not known where he is living, Crockwell did return to Bay Bulls and spent Friday night in the company of friends, The Telegram has learned.
“You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face,” an anonymous source said today.
On June 1, 2012, Crockwell was convicted of firearms charges as a result of an eight-day armed standoff with the RCMP in December 2010. 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.
With prisoners normally serving the provincial standard two-thirds of their sentence, Crockwell wasn’t scheduled to be released for another five months.
However, that changed last week when a Newfoundland Supreme Court judge concluded Crockwell should be released earlier.
Justice Alphonsus Faour ruled that calculating Crockwell’s release date should have been based on his total four-year sentence because that was the mandatory minimum for the charges, according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
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The judge’s decision came after Crockwell filed an application, claiming corrections authorities and prison administrators had miscalculated his sentence.
The calculations being used were based on the time Crockwell had left to serve after credit for pre-trial custody — 21 months and 25 days.
However, during a hearing to argue the case last week, Crockwell’s lawyer, Nick Westera, said the proper way to work out his sentence would be to calculate two-thirds of the total sentence.
That would mean he was supposed to be freed from jail in August of this year.
Westera, argued Crockwell’s pre-trial custody was part of his sentence.
Faour agreed and Crockwell walked out of court a happy man, knowing he would be home for the holidays.
However, it was unclear how long it would take administrators to process his release.
The arrangements were made in time for Crockwell to be home for the holidays.