After three emotionally draining years, the court case of two lovers charged with plotting to kill their spouses is over.
At Prince Albert’s Court of Queen’s Bench today, Friday Aug. 2, Chief Justice Martel Popescul handed down a sentence of three years less two months for Curtis Vey and three years less three months for Angela Nicholson.
The pair was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in 2013 after Vey’s wife Brigitte recorded them discussing their plan. They were found guilty of all charges in June.
When explaining his sentence, Popescul said it was the shortest sentence term which could be imposed while still fulfilling the obligations of the law.
Both Vey and Nicholson’s lack of criminal record and likelihood of not following through with the plot were cited as reasons for a shorter jail term.
However, Popescul said an aggravating factor in his decision was the financial benefit to be gained from killing the spouses, since both would be sole beneficiaries if the murders were to occur.
Vey’s lawyer Aaron Fox and Nicholson’s lawyer Ron Piche expressed disappointment at Popescul’s focus on the financial matters.
“With respect, I don’t think that was born out in the evidence,” Piche said outside of court. “There was some reference, but I don’t think it was proven to the degree required. At the end of the day, I think it’s overall a disappointment.”
Fox expressed disappointment as well, saying the proceedings were “amateur hour compared to a lot of the other conspiracy offenses we see like this.”
Fox asked for a 16-month provincial sentence for Vey, while Piche requested a six-month jail sentence followed by two years of probation for Nicholson.
Both lawyers said their submissions were agreeable since neither client had a previous criminal history and only discussed the plan without making any substantial moves towards carrying it out.
Crown prosecutor Lori O’Connor asked for a six-year sentence for both Vey and Nicholson, citing aggravating factors such as there being two victims, those victims being spouses and the financial benefit of the spouse’s death.
“I think it’s been a long process for all families involved, and I think finally reaching a sentencing point is good for everybody,” she said outside of court. “I was really impressed that the judge put together the financial motive, with the discussion of the will in the iPod recording.”
During her submission, O’Connor referred to domestic abuse and spousal homicide rates in Canada.
“In the year this event happened, there were I think 47 spousal homicides in Canada, two in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic abuse in Canada. That’s part of the reason why we asked for a sentence of six years because we want to show while that despite it being prevalent it’s not okay and there should be general denunciation and deterrence towards that,” she said.
Vey and Nicholson spoke for the first time during the proceedings, after the initial sentencing submissions were complete.
Vey apologized to both families and said he deeply regretted the pain everyone went through.
When Nicholson spoke she immediately burst into tears and sobs. She said she’s sorry the words spoken out of frustration and anger caused so much pain and led to court proceedings.
Though the court case is over, the emotional scars remain.
Brigitte Vey, who was to be drugged and burned alive in a house fire started by Nicholson, said during her victim impact statement she suffered panic attacks before, during and after the trial.
The court heard she blamed herself for the situation and it was only through counselling she learned to not blame herself for the trauma inflicted upon her family.
She managed to keep her composure throughout most of her statement until the very end, when her voice cracked as she told Vey she forgave him. Citing her faith, she said Vey needed to learn and change to fully repent for his actions.
A victim impact statement for Jim Taylor, Nicholson’s estranged husband who was to be drugged and burned in an abandoned building, was submitted but not read.
Before sentencing submissions began, the court heard of two possible incidents of juror interference. Chief Justice Popescul said neither incident warranted an inquiry and the matters were put aside.
It’s unknown if the sentence will be appealed. All three lawyers said it’s a possibility they are considering.
-with files from Shane O’Neill
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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