Youth sen­tence over­turned, man gets life for 2013 mur­der

Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS - KATIE MAY katie.may@freep­ Twit­ter: @thatkatiemay

A FOR­MER gang as­so­ciate who shot a 20-year-old man in the back for no ap­par­ent rea­son has been sen­tenced to life in prison af­ter Man­i­toba’s high­est court over­turned his seven-year youth sen­tence and or­dered he be sent to prison as an adult.

An­thony James Nick McCle­ments was 17 when he shot Nigel Dixon in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon on April 2, 2013. The bul­let killed Dixon and se­ri­ously in­jured his step­sis­ter, Sa­man­tha Meekis, who had been walk­ing in front of him.

The vic­tims and their friends weren’t part of a gang — and that’s what they told mem­bers of the Mad Cowz street gang who sur­rounded them in a res­i­den­tial back lane in Win­nipeg’s down­town.

Dixon and his friends were on their way to play pool that af­ter­noon. They didn’t have gang af­fil­i­a­tions — Meekis told the Mad Cowz they were from “the rez.”

While gang mem­bers re­treated to let the other group pass, sin­gle file through the back lane, McCle­ments fol­lowed Dixon’s group, even though other mem­bers of the gang told him not to. He pulled out a 9-mm hand­gun and fired four or five shots at Dixon. Two of the bul­lets hit Meekis.

Af­ter McCle­ments pleaded guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in 2015, Court of Queen’s Bench Jus­tice Colleen Suche dis­missed the Crown’s re­quest to have him sen­tenced as an adult. Un­der the Youth Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act, the max­i­mum youth sen­tence for sec­ond­de­gree mur­der is seven years, with four of those spent in cus­tody and three on com­mu­nity su­per­vi­sion.

That had been McCle­ments’ pun­ish­ment, un­til the Crown ar­gued its case at the Court of Ap­peal.

In a de­ci­sion is­sued Mon­day, the ap­peal court ruled Suche made sev­eral mis­takes in her de­ci­sion not to sen­tence McCle­ments as an adult. Suche had con­sid­ered McCle­ments, who was nearly 18 at the time of the shoot­ing, ma­ture be­yond his years and with no cog­ni­tive dif­fi­cul­ties, but the ap­peal court de­cided she didn’t prop­erly con­sider the level of ac­count­abil­ity McCle­ments should bear for the shoot­ing.

De­spite de­scrib­ing the shoot­ing as “in­ex­pli­ca­ble,” Suche had noted McCle­ments had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record and wrote in her de­ci­sion “he is a se­ri­ous and hard­work­ing stu­dent and aca­dem­i­cally has ac­com­plished a great deal.”

“These er­rors were ma­te­rial, in that they im­pacted the sen­tence in more than just an in­ci­den­tal way. Given his high de­gree of moral blame­wor­thi­ness, a youth sen­tence would not be suf­fi­cient in length to hold the re­spon­dent ac­count­able for the shock­ing mur­der of Nigel Dixon,” Court of Ap­peal Jus­tice Bar­bara Hamil­ton wrote in the de­ci­sion, also signed by jus­tices Holly Beard and Jen­nifer Pfuet­zner.

The ap­peal court im­posed a new life sen­tence on McCle­ments. In this case, Hamil­ton wrote, the max­i­mum youth sen­tence was “sim­ply not long enough to re­flect the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence and the re­spon­dent’s role in it.”


The youth sen­tence for 17-year-old An­thony McCle­ments was over­turned by the Court of Ap­peal.

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