The Ontario Court of Appeal has denied Ottawa police killer Kevin Gregson’s appeal of his murder convictions in the first place.
In a decision released Thursday, a three-member panel of judges rejected the appeal of the one-time specialized RCMP officer who in December 2009 stabbed a deadly knife to Ottawa police. Eric Czapnik.
Gregson appealed his conviction on the grounds that his legal aid violated his duty of loyalty to him, beginning with a bizarre lie that the lawyer was a former police officer.
That lawyer, Craig Fleming, “spun a narrative” that would lead him to act as a “babysitter,” “smoothing the way for the crown to secure a verdict,” attorney Michael Lacy argued in May.
‘Pathological lie’ won Gregson’s trust: Appeal lawyer
In his statement to the Court of Appeal, Gregson wrote that Fleming had told him that he was a former RCMP officer who had been “forced out.”
“Mr. Fleming told me that he had been a sergeant in charge of a drug troop in Vancouver back in the 1980s, and that he had killed them during the process of making a two-man ruling,” Gregson wrote.
The story made Gregson feel like he “had a real bond” with the lawyer. It was all a lie. Fleming has never been a police officer with the RCMP or any other police force.
Lacy called it a “pathological lie” that Fleming had been driving since at least 2004.
The lie gained Gregson’s confidence, and once in that position, Fleming revealed the prosecution’s legal strategy and shared with them confidential and privileged communications he had had with his client, Lacy claimed.
‘Unethical’ but no effect on the verdict: Court of Appeal
He fundamentally misunderstood his role in the case, Lacy said. He was not an amicus or a lawyer who helped anyone who defended himself: he was a lawyer who was paid to defend his client’s interests.
The Court of Appeal found several of Fleming’s actions to be “misleading and incorrect” and “unethical”, but found that they were in no way based on any real conflict of interest that meant a shared loyalty to Gregson.
“Mr. Fleming cannot be said to have violated his duty of loyalty to his client under applicable law,” the Court of Appeals found.
“This may have been a case of ineffective assistance from a lawyer. However, an appeal based on ineffective assistance could not have been successful because Mr Fleming’s actions cannot be said to have had any effect on the judgment.”
1st degree homicide
Gregson was convicted of first-degree murder in Czapnik’s stabbing death in March 2012. During the trial, Gregson admitted to killing Czapnik, 51.
Czapnik wrote reports while sitting in his patrol car outside the emergency room on Ottawa Hospital’s Civic campus on December 29, 2009. Gregson approached and attacked the officer with a knife.
In September 2012, Gregson was also convicted of sexually assaulting a then 10-year-old girl just a week before he killed Czapnik.
Czapnik joined the Ottawa Police Service in April 2007. At the time, he was the oldest recruit in service history. The father of four followed in the footsteps of his own father, who had been a police officer for 30 years.