Man sen­tenced to eight years

Man­slaugh­ter con­vic­tion lands North Sydney man in jail


EDITOR’S NOTE – A copy er­ror in the Feb. 16 edi­tion of the Cape Bre­ton Post in­ad­ver­tently re­sulted in a pre­vi­ous re­port be­ing pub­lished on page A6. The fol­low­ing is the up­dated re­port on the case that was be­fore the court Wed­nes­day. The Post re­grets the er­ror.

A fight over a girl that caused the death of one man has now re­sulted in an­other be­ing sen­tenced to eight years in a fed­eral prison.

Cody Alexan­der Rus­sell, 22, of North Sydney, was ini­tially charged with se­cond-de­gree mur­der in con­nec­tion with the Sept. 30, 2015, stab­bing death of 25-year-old Stephen Tyler Chisholm of Sydney Mines. He pleaded guilty to the in­cluded of­fence of man­slaugh­ter.

The eight-year sen­tence im­posed Wed­nes­day, mi­nus 11 months for re­mand credit, was a joint rec­om­men­da­tion from Crown pros­e­cu­tors Shane Rus­sell and Ger­ald MacDon­ald and de­fence lawyer David Ian­netti.

The rec­om­men­da­tion was ac­cepted by Supreme Court Jus­tice Frank Ed­wards who said he was do­ing so with con­cerns.

Ed­wards said he was trou­bled that by the age of 21, Rus­sell had al­ready served four provin­cial jail sen­tences and one fed­eral sen­tence for rob­bery, and at the time he stabbed Chisholm, he was on pa­role from the rob­bery of­fence.

“Your record and this con­vic­tion rep­re­sent a propen­sity to vi­o­lence. I am not con­fi­dent that is go­ing to change,” said Ed­wards, who also or­dered Rus­sell sub­mit a DNA sam­ple to the na­tional reg­istry and pro­hib­ited him from pos­sess­ing firearms for life.

He said an omi­nous sign is Rus­sell’s ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour while in jail and that he ap­pears to be in de­nial when it comes to a prob­lem with al­co­hol.

“If you are not moved by the ex­pres­sions of grief you heard here to­day, then there is noth­ing that I or any­one else can say that will make a dif­fer­ence,” said the judge, in ref­er­ence to vic­tim im­pact state­ments filed by mem­bers of Chisholm’s fam­ily.

“You de­prived a young man of his life, a mother of her son and chil­dren of their fa­ther,” said Ed­wards, adding he hoped Rus­sell fully re­al­ized the im­pact of his crime and makes a se­ri­ous ef­fort to turn his life around.

Ed­wards also ex­pressed con­cern Wed­nes­day that the agreed state­ment of facts — out­lin­ing the el­e­ments of the crime — made no men­tion to whether Rus­sell was act­ing in self-de­fence.

After con­sid­er­able dis­cus­sion be­tween the judge and the lawyers, it was agreed to amend the state­ment to in­clude Rus­sell’s ac­knowl­edg­ment that he was not act­ing in self-de­fence.

An­other amend­ment noted that the pock­etknife found on Chisholm at the time of his death was not the knife used in the fa­tal at­tack.

Vic­tim im­pact state­ments from Chisholm’s mother and half-sis­ter spoke about how they now avoid most peo­ple be­cause they don’t want to talk about what hap­pened.

They also ad­dressed the sad­ness, the loss and hurt they con­tinue to feel in los­ing a brother and a son.

In read­ing the state­ment of facts, pros­e­cu­tor Shane Rus­sell said at the time of the of­fence, Chisholm was in a re­la­tion­ship with a woman with whom he shared two chil­dren. He was also a fa­ther to a third child from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship.

“There was ev­i­dence that Mr. Rus­sell had an in­ter­est in start­ing a re­la­tion­ship with Kelsey Laf­fin and this was the source of the con­flict be­tween him and Mr. Chisholm,” said Shane Rus­sell.

Shortly after mid­night on Sept. 30, 2015, Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice were called to Clif­ford Street in North Sydney where they found Chisholm on the street and not breath­ing. He was pro­nounced dead shortly be­fore 1 a.m.

An au­topsy con­cluded he died as a re­sult of a stab wound to his chest that cut into the right side of his heart. He also had stab wounds to his back, left side of his face and the right side of his head.

Prior to the ar­rival of po­lice, Rus­sell fled the scene and showed up at a nearby apart­ment bleed­ing and hav­ing dif­fi­culty re­tain­ing con­scious­ness.

He was later treated and med­i­cal re­ports in­di­cated he suf­fered a bro­ken nose and mul­ti­ple non-lethal stab wounds to his ear, cheek, ab­domen and shoul­der.

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