Scales of justice
In what a Prince Edward Island Supreme Court judge said was the first case of its kind he has seen in the province, an Island man added one year to the jail time he’s already serving because he tried to get witnesses to change their testimony against him.
Derry Ian Bird, 22, appeared before Justice Wayne Cheverie in P.E.I Supreme Court Monday where he pleaded guilty to trying to pervert the course of justice by getting two Crown witnesses to alter their testimony in his break, enter and theft trial.
In doing so, Bird violated a court order that prohibited him from having any contact with the two women.
In handing down the sentence, Cheverie said he found the violation of the court order “particularly galling.”
“I have never seen such brazen boldness in my time on the bench,” he said.
Bird appeared in court last week for trial after he was allegedly involved in an armed robbery and home invasion in Emyvale in May.
That trial is set to resume Dec. 17.
Bird is also serving time in prison for previous drug charges.
On Monday, the court heard that Bird wrote letters to Jennifer Wakelin and Kaylee McLean before they were scheduled to testify at his trial.
Both women were sentenced earlier this year to four months in jail for their part in the robbery.
In the letters, which were handwritten and laced with profanities, Bird encouraged them to change their testimony.
“Do the right thing,” he wrote in one letter.
Bird sat with his hands and feet shackled as he listened to Crown attorney Cindy Wedge read from the letters he gave former cellmates who were supposed to pass them on to the women.
Staff at the Provincial Correctional Centre seized one of the letters and when the other cellmate was released he called one of the women, who contacted the police.
In the first letter, sent before the women were sentenced, Bird told McLean he needed her on his side to “beat this thing.”
He told McLean that if she testified she would be known as a rat, get a record and maybe get jail time. Bird said she wouldn’t want to go to jail if she was branded as a rat.
“It will not be fun time.”
As part of the script Bird provided, McLean was meant to tell the court she made up her story and was told what to say by the police. Bird also professed his love for McLean and told her if they worked together they could make his charge disappear.
“I hope you make the right choice,” he wrote.
In the second letter, which was written for both women and on which Bird wrote and underlined the word “flush” at the top, he told Wakelin the crime didn’t happen and she knew it.
“We can all walk away from this, unlike dumbass Chase,” he wrote in reference to Chase Roper who pleaded guilty for his role in the robbery.
Bird said no one else needed to go to jail and he didn’t deserve to go to prison for four years, which is what he thought he was facing.
“Do the right thing.”
In handing down the sentence, Cheverie said the guilty plea was a mitigating factor, but he questioned whether Bird was remorseful. He also referred to Bird’s criminal record, which was short, but involved drug charges that were escalating in severity.
“This is serious stuff,” Cheverie said.
Cheverie sentenced Bird to one year for trying to pervert the course of justice, to be served consecutive to any other sentence he is already serving.
He also sentenced him to four months to be served concurrently for violating the court order.