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P.E.I. judge denies appeal of former RCMP officer’s assault conviction

['Former RCMP officer Jeffrey Rae Gillis leaves the provincial courthouse in this file photo.']
Former RCMP officer Jeffrey Rae Gillis leaves the provincial courthouse in this file photo.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A P.E.I. Supreme Court judge has upheld the sentence for a former RCMP officer who pleaded guilty to assaulting a teen.

Jeffrey Rae Gillis was sentenced in January 2017 to 30 days in jail for an assault that included backhanding the victim and punching him in the face.

Provincial court Chief Judge Nancy Orr also placed Gillis on probation for two years and imposed a 10-year firearm prohibition.

Gillis appealed the sentence on nine grounds, including that Orr imposed a sentence that was unduly harsh.

Related: Former RCMP officer changes plea to guilty on one charge of assault

In dismissing the appeal, P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie said the sentence Orr imposed given the unique facts before her was within the range of sentences for assault and took into account Gillis’s breach of trust.

“It is a fit sentence,” Cheverie said.

Cheverie found the appeal failed on all nine grounds.

Among the appellant’s submissions was the argument Orr didn’t properly consider Gillis’s persona circumstances, including that he was a first-time offender who entered a guilty plea.

The appellant also argued Gills was a well-respected member of the RCMP and he voluntarily started counselling for PTSD, narcissistic personality disorder, depressive disorder and substance abuse issues.

Cheverie wrote that he saw nothing in Orr’s reasons for the sentence that showed she ignored or improperly applied those factors.

Gillis has retired from the RCMP.

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The appellant also argued Orr didn’t “show her work” and give reasons why a conditional sentence wasn’t appropriate, which was an error.

Cheverie disagreed.     

“Her work is spread throughout the entirety of her oral reasons,” he said.

In addressing the grounds that Orr’s sentence was too harsh, Cheverie wrote that she placed appropriate weight on the aggravating and mitigating factors.

By placing Gillis on probation and including conditions for counselling, Orr balanced denunciation and deterrence with rehabilitation, Cheverie said.

Gillis was also sentenced last year to three years in prison for multiple offences after police found more than 100 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his home.

He was granted parole on that matter in December.

A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the assault victim.

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