Lesser sentence sought for convicted drug dealer

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 25, 2016
Lesser sentence sought for convicted drug dealer

The lawyer for a P.E.I. man serving 16 years in prison says his client’s robbery conviction was unreasonable because some of the witnesses were unreliable.

Jason Norman Yeo wasn’t in court when his lawyer, Mikael Bernard, argued on his behalf in the P.E.I. Court of Appeal in Charlottetown for two cases.

Bernard said some of the witnesses needed to convict Yeo in connection with the robbery were unsavoury and not credible. Those witnesses included a man who was convicted of perjury in another case.

“Nothing he speaks of can be believed,” Bernard said.

In 2014, Yeo was sentenced to nine years in prison for his involvement in planning a violent home invasion in Emyvale.

Later that year he was sentenced to another seven years for various offences, including drug charges from an investigation the police called “Operation Latte.”

Yeo was in a car with Chase James Roper, who sold a bag of cocaine to an undercover police officer.

Crown attorney Gerald Quinn told the three appeal judges there was no evidence of collusion between the witnesses in an attempt to convict an innocent man.

Quinn also said the case didn’t rely on only one witness for a conviction.

“This is not a he said, she said case.” The appeal judges had to consider whether any reasonable judge or jury would have arrived at the same verdict, Quinn said.

“The answer to that has to be a resounding yes in this case.”

For the second appeal on the drug charges, Yeo sought an acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial.

Bernard argued Yeo’s actions in the car after the drug transactions showed he wasn’t aware a deal was going to take place when he drove with Roper.

No inference could be drawn that Yeo knew there would be a drug deal beforehand, Bernard said. Yeo also appealed his sentence with Bernard saying the total of 16 years went against the principles of sentencing. The combined sentence should be reduced to 11 years, he said.

The judges will release their decisions at a later date.