Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Crown seeks new benchmark in fatal crash

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REGINA (SNN) — If the prosecutio­n succeeds in its appeal, the sentence for a Regina man who played a pivotal role in a deadly collision will set a new benchmark in this province.

On Wednesday, the Saskatchew­an Court of Appeal upheld Faron Lyle Akapew’s conviction­s stemming from a dangerous, high-speed chase that ended in the death of a 10-year-old Regina girl. However, the court is still mulling over a request by the Crown to more than double the 6 ⁄ year prison sentence originally imposed.

Crown prosecutor William Campbell urged the Appeal Court to consider a 15-year prison term, especially given Akapew’s “extreme criminal record” of 75 previous conviction­s, including 22 for driving offences — two of which are also for fleeing from police. The case is also unique because Akapew wasn’t actually the driver in the fatal crash, but was found guilty as a party to the offence for urging on the teen who was at the wheel.

“With any luck, the same sort of thing won’t happen again, but if unfortunat­ely it does, this will form a precedent for the cases that come after it,” Campbell explained to reporters outside of court.

Defence lawyer Matthew Llewellyn told the judges Akapew, 48, had already received a significan­t sentence. “If the court is entering into new territory, we have to be cautious,” he said.

Akapew, who appeared by teleconfer­ence from the Saskatchew­an Penitentia­ry, was convicted at a trial last year of flight from police causing death, flight from police causing bodily harm, criminal negligence and vehicle theft.

Akapew’s 17-year-old nephew was driving a stolen truck on March 31, 2007 that hit an RCMP officer, sparking a highspeed chase down Highway 10. Akapew, a passenger, was found to have urged on his drunken nephew, who swerved into oncoming traffic during the 33-kilometre chase before veering into the path of a van carrying a family. The girl died at the scene near Edgeley.

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