Manitoba’s Court of Appeal has overturned a judge’s decision to ignore a mandatory minimum sentence for a bullied teen who fired shots at a Carberry home.
But Bryce McMillan won’t spend any more time in jail.
McMillan, who was 19 at the time of the offense, pleaded guilty to intentionally discharging a firearm into the house, without knowing if anyone was home at the time.
Court heard he fired six shots through the front window, narrowly missing two people in the living room.
Justice John Menzies chose to ignore the mandatory minimum sentence of four years, partly because of the bullying the teen had experienced. McMillan said he only intended to send a message to his bully to leave him alone.
The Court of Appeal said Menzies’ punishment didn’t fit the crime. It says denunciation and deterrence should have been the two most important factors in the sentencing.
“That sentence sends the wrong message. Canadian neighbourhoods are not war zones,” wrote Chief Justice Richard Chartier.
“The public expects that the sentence will reflect society’s denunciation and condemnation for such conduct and that it will serve as a general deterrent to prevent others from acting so recklessly in the future.”
Chartier said he believed Menzies placed too much emphasis on the bullying the teen endured.
“In my view, the sentencing judge greatly overemphasized the effect of bullying as a mitigating factor and, by doing so, he underemphasized the accused’s high degree of moral blameworthiness.”
The panel of Court of Appeal judges sentenced the teen to the mandatory four-year minimum.
However, they stayed the rest of his jail time, meaning McMillan won’t spend any more time in custody. That decision was made partly because if he had originally been sentenced to four years, he would likely be out on day parole by now.