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CALGARY – Alberta’s highest court has agreed to hear an appeal from the sentence of a man convicted of killing three people, but the hearing date has been postponed indefinitely.

Derek Saretzky was convicted of first degree murder in the 2015 deaths of Terry Blachette, the man’s two-year-old daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, and Hanne Meketech.

He was sentenced to life without parole for 75 years.

His lawyer, Balfour Der, applied to the Alberta Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the constitutionality of consecutive periods of parole ineligibility.

The Court of Appeal says it will hear the appeal, but only after the Supreme Court rules on the Alexandre Bissonnette case.

Bissonnette killed six people in a Quebec mosque in 2017 and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 40 years, but was later changed on appeal to 25 years.

The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the cumulative sentence provision is unconstitutional.

Crown Attorney Christine Rideout told the Alberta Court of Appeal on Tuesday that the province will appear as an intervener in the Bissonnette case before the Supreme Court, as there are cases in the province that have concerns. similarities.

But she said Saretzky’s sentencing appeal should have been requested a long time ago.

“There is nothing more that Mr. Saretzky can add to this appeal in terms of original argument or original analysis. It should not have taken nearly three years for the appeal of his conviction to be heard, ”she told the court.

Saretzky had previously appealed his three murder convictions, then dropped all but one.

The Court of Appeal heard his appeal in the murder of Meketech, 69, but dismissed it.

The court heard that Saretzky was “an aspiring serial killer” at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and owned many books on serial killers and serial murders.

Der said his client still deserved to be heard.

“The other paramount feature here is fairness to Mr. Saretzky,” Der said.

“Honestly, I have no idea why the constitutional challenge was not brought by his lawyer to the trial judge. “

Judge Peter Martin said this was an unusual case and he and his fellow judges decided to allow the appeal after Bissonnette’s case was settled.

“We will allow the request and allow Mr. Saretzky to raise these arguments … however, we will adjourn the case and hear the argument once the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in Bissonnette in the appeal now before him. submitted. “

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 26, 2021.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


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