Kevin Gregson, a former RCMP officer, stated. Eric Czapnik outside Ottawa Hospital in December 2009.
Kevin Gregson has lost his appeal over his conviction for first-degree murder in Ottawa Police Officer Const in 2009. Eric Czapnik.
Writing to a unanimous panel of three judges at the Ontario Court of Appeal, Judge Alison Harvison Young said Gregson’s attorney did not violate “his duty of loyalty” to his client, and although it can be said that the attorney offered ineffective assistance, he did it has “no effect on the judgment.”
Gregson, a former RCMP officer who had been suspended from the job following a series of incidents, killed Czapnik in an unprovoked stabbing attack outside Ottawa Hospital on December 29, 2009.
During his trial, Gregson argued that he was suicidal and only wanted to steal a police officer’s gun when he drew a BB gun on Czapnik. But when Czapnik fought back, Gregson said his instinct and training kicked in, and he stabbed the officer several times. (Gregson claimed it was only twice, though more than two stab wounds were discovered.)
The question of whether Gregson’s legal aid attorney violated his duty of loyalty was the only question that was appealed, according to the decision handed down Thursday.
Craig Fleming, a personal injury lawyer for Legal Aid Ontario, agreed to represent Gregson at the trial after Gregson’s former lawyer asked to be removed from the record a few weeks before the trial began.
In his decision, Young acknowledged that Fleming was facing “difficult circumstances” by representing Gregson, with Gregson described as a “difficult client,” and the facts of the offense were not in conflict. It was also “clear” that there was no expert evidence to support a non-criminally responsible defense, she noted.
While Young questioned and in some cases criticized Fleming’s tactics in representing and communicating with Gregson, she found that his loyalties were not divided; he was just trying to find a way to effectively represent his client.
“Given the difficult circumstances in which Mr. Fleming acted, there were reasonable explanations for his sometimes misleading conduct, including that he sought to pursue any possible defense available to the appellant and to seek concessions or services from the Crown,” Young wrote.
“In my opinion, Mr Fleming did not act out of divided loyalty, but was committed to his client’s case. Consequently, the appellant’s only complaint alleging breach of the duty of loyalty cannot succeed. ”