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Crown wants convicted murderer Craig Pope to be ineligible for parole for 12 years

The Crown is looking for 12 years for parole ineligibility for Craig Pope, where the defence is asking for 10 or 11. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC - image credit)
The Crown is looking for 12 years for parole ineligibility for Craig Pope, where the defence is asking for 10 or 11. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC - image credit)
The Crown is looking for 12 years for parole ineligibility for Craig Pope, where the defence is asking for 10 or 11.
The Crown is looking for 12 years for parole ineligibility for Craig Pope, where the defence is asking for 10 or 11.

The Crown is looking for 12 years for parole ineligibility for Craig Pope, while the defence is asking for 10 or 11. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)

Convicted murderer Craig Pope will have to wait until the end of the month to hear how long he'll be ineligible for parole while serving his sentence.

In December, a jury found Pope guilty of second-degree murder in the 2017 stabbing death of Jonathan Collins. That verdict comes with a life sentence and no chance of parole for a minimum of 10 years and maximum of 25.

Crown lawyer Shawn Patten argued Friday before Supreme Court Justice Glen Noel in St. John's that Pope should have to wait 12 years to be eligible for parole — the same amount asked for in Pope's first trial — while defence lawyer Mark Gruchy asked for 10 or 11 years.

Patten cited Pope's criminal history, a potential high risk to reoffend, drug issues, and the circumstances around the incident, such as "callously" leaving Collins in the street after the stabbing and not offering aid.

Gruchy said a decade is a long time.

"Mr. Pope will be almost 50 before he gets a chance to apply for parole. I don't know if at the end of the day whether he's 48 versus 50 is going to make a difference."

Gruchy also said Pope has availed of rehabilitation programs during his incarceration to better himself.

Family on enduring grief

On Friday morning, members of the Collins family read out victim impact statements, detailing their grief over his violent killing and how the public court process has affected them.

There was a full courthouse on Friday for Craig Pope's sentencing hearing.
There was a full courthouse on Friday for Craig Pope's sentencing hearing.

There was a full courthouse on Friday for Pope's sentencing hearing. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)

Collins's mother, Yvonne Noseworthy, told the court she wasn't able to see her son's body for a week after the stabbing because his body was evidence.

She called that "unacceptable and cruel."

"My grief is so intense, part of me left when my son died. The waves of grief come. I call them my tsunami. I don't see them coming and they knock me down," Noseworthy said.

The victim's father, David Collins, died last summer. His statement was read by his daughter.

All family members spoke about the emotional and physical anguish over Jonathan Collins's murder, including health problems.

While they spoke, Pope stared straight ahead.

Pope's sister, Jennifer Pope, said her brother changed after a 2015 car accident and she believed he was using drugs.

Noel said both men came from good families and that it "seems like drugs ruined two families."

Throughout the hearing, Pope's silence during the court proceedings was regularly mentioned, with the judge saying he understood that Pope had a right to silence but it didn't shed light on what led to the altercation that led to Collins' death.

Pope also spoke at court, apologizing to the Collins family in a brief statement that referencing the fact this was the second trial he had stood for murder after winning a new trial from the Supreme Court of Canada in 2022.

"I am sad they had to go through this again," he said, adding he was sorry from the bottom of his heart. "I hope they can find peace. That's it."

Noel is scheduled to give his decision on Feb. 29.

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