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Nine-year sentence for Deer Lake man convicted of attempted murder was valid, NL Court of Appeal rules

['Alex Normore']
Alex Normore. - SaltWire File Photo

He appealed both his conviction and his sentence, but in the end, a Deer Lake man who tried to kill his former boss by beating him with a flashlight had no success with either.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the case of Alex Normore, 55, who argued that the nine-year prison sentence given to him by the trial judge in 2016 was too harsh.

Normore entered the home of his former employer around 7 a.m. on March 1, 2014, while the man was still in bed, saying, "I don't have a gun but I'm going to kill you anyway." He then attacked the man with a three-foot long flashlight, leaving him with injuries to his arms and legs, before the man was able to escape. Normore took the man's vehicle from the driveway when he left the house. 

The trial judge noted Normore had attempted to obtain a rifle which the RCMP had previously seized about two weeks before the attack. Police found written material in his apartment indicating he wanted to hurt his former boss, with whom he had not had any contact for two years. 

Alex James Normore of Deer Lake discusses his court case with lawyer Sandi MacKinnon in provincial court in Corner Brook in 2017. - SaltWire File Photo
Alex James Normore of Deer Lake discusses his court case with lawyer Sandi MacKinnon in provincial court in Corner Brook in 2017. - SaltWire File Photo

The victim told the court he had been left with intense fear and psychological scars due to the attack.

Normore was convicted of attempted murder, uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, break and entry into a home with the intention to commit a crime, and theft of a motor vehicle. He had pleaded guilty to the latter charge.

In ruling on Normore's sentence appeal, Justice Gale Welsh acknowledged nine years was on the high end of the range considering similar cases, but said it was not unreasonable or excessive in the same context. Normore's planning and deliberation, the nature of the weapon, the victim's vulnerable position, the unprovoked nature of the attack, Normore's statement about intending to kill the man, and the man's lasting psychological effects had all been rightly considered by the original judge, Welsh said, and two other Supreme Court judges agreed.

Though Normore had also argued the trial judge had used his mental health as a factor to increase his sentence, the appeal judges said Normore had not taken any steps to establish he was suffering from a mental illness at the time of the attack, which may have reduced his blameworthiness. In fact, Normore said he does not have a mental illness, the judges noted.

"In the circumstances, the judge found that Mr. Normore has no insight into the medical condition which has resulted in his belief that (the victim), the police and the justice system are conspiring against him," Welsh wrote. "In such a circumstance, the protection of the community is a valid consideration in determining an appropriate sentenced. The trial judge did not err in his consideration of this factor."

The judges dismissed Normore's sentence appeal.

Normore had originally been successful when he appealed his convictions last year, and had been granted a new trial. The Crown took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which restored the convictions.

Earlier this year, Normore had applied to the court for a publicly-funded lawyer to represent him on his sentence appeal, but his application was denied.

— With files from Rosie Mullaley

Twiter: @tara_bradbury


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