Tyler Jack Newton was let off too easy for killing a Kelowna man as he rode the city bus home one night in 2014, say a number of Central Okanagan residents now petitioning the Minister of Justice to intervene in the court’s recent decision.
“We, the Canadian people, the people of Kelowna, British Columbia, ask the Crown to appeal this light sentencing and ask that Tyler Newton be (sentenced) again … seven years for a life is a perversion of justice,” reads the petition on change.org, which has already garnered nearly 800 signatures.
Many of those commenting on the webpage have noted that they had a personal relationship with Newton’s victim, Caesar Rosales, and that’s what motivated their support.
“Caesar was my friend and bus buddy. Seven years is no punishment at all. Completely ridiculous,” wrote someone identifying themselves Jennifer Moncrieff on the public petition site.
Others pointed out that public safety has been threatened with the decision.
“I believe justice has not been served and I don’t want my fellow citizens or my family riding a bus with this dangerous man four years from now,” wrote Sean Braid.
Although he didn’t support the petition, specifically, MP Dan Albas has also thrown in his two cents and earlier in the week said that he’d like to see the Crown revisit the sentencing.
“In this case I believe that there is adequate evidence that due to the serious and violent nature of this crime, both in terms of public safety and interest, that the Crown should appeal date decision immediately,” Albas wrote in his weekly column.
“In my view it is important to publicly speak out against these disturbing acts of random violence in the hopes that an appeal will be submitted.”
What the Crown will do remains to be seen, but public dissent from residents or politicians won’t necessarily change the course.
“The authority of Crown Counsel stems directly from the powers that constitute the core of the Attorney General’s office,” reads a government document addressing the independence of the courts.
” As a result, their discretion is “protected from the influence of improper political and other vitiating factors by the principle of independence.”
The document goes on to explain that independence of Crown counsel ensures that they “can take the right decision in a case without fear or favour, without being subjected to improper pressure from another source, whether it be the media, politicians, the police, a victim seeking revenge or
even a misguided public opinion.”
The “public good is clearly served by the maintenance of a sphere of unfettered discretion within which Crown attorneys can properly pursue their professional goals.”
This does not mean that Crown Counsel are not accountable for their decisions. Prosecutors are
• their supervisors within the Criminal Justice Branch;
• the AG;
• the courts if the manner in which they conduct a prosecution proves abusive; and
• the provincial Law Society.
Newton has a criminal record 50 convictions long and was drugged out and hallucinating on the day he killed Rosales.
The court heard that he was in a violent mindset Oct. 30, 2014 when he boarded the No. 8 bus at Orchard Park Mall to reach his girlfriend, who lived on Hein Road.
Rosales has the misfortune of being on that bus, as he often was.
While the bus was stopped at the Leckie and Baron Road stop, Newton was seen switching seats, placing himself directly behind Rosales. Then, without provocation, he stabbed Rosales in the neck, slicing his jugular vein and carotid artery.
It became apparent something was wrong to the rest of the passengers on the bus when Rosales stood up and yelled out that he had been stabbed, bleeding profusely from his neck.
Meanwhile after stabbing Rosales, Newton left the bus from the rear exit door, walking behind a nearby apartment building where he discarded the knife in a hedgerow.
Efforts to assist Rosales before emergency paramedics could arrive at the scene proved unsuccessful due to the nature of the wound.
Rosales worked in IT at Flight Craft. At the time of his killing, friends remembered him as kind, unassuming man who had a taste for adventure. He was survived by two siblings, his adult age son and a mother.
His mother’s health, the court heard this week, took a turn for the worse when she learned her son had died and she too passed within 14 months of his killing.