Yarmouth Justice CentreTINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
A Yarmouth County man who has been sitting in jail since being convicted by a jury in October 2011 of attempting to kill his father has finally been sentenced for his crime.
Robert (Bobby) Charles Rogers has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years behind bars for his conviction of attempted murder and other criminal counts.
The judge gave him credit for the time he’s been in custody on remand. He was given credit for serving 40 months and therefore only has 38 months left to serve on his sentence.
Rogers has actually been in custody since his arrest in May 2011, which is when the crime occurred.
Since being convicted by a jury more than two years ago, his sentencing has been the subject of numerous adjournments as he was not represented by a lawyer. He fired his lawyer after his conviction and had trouble finding a new one. He was represented at his sentencing hearing by lawyer Chris Manning.
The court also ordered a firearms prohibition and Rogers will have to submit a sample the federal DNA database. He was sentenced in Supreme Court on Jan. 9.
On Oct, 7, 2011, after having deliberated for nine hours, a nine-woman, three-man jury found Rogers guilty of attempting to kill his father. He was also convicted of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Rogers’ father, Charles Rogers, had been stabbed in the throat in his Mood Road residence on May 5, 2011, and almost died. His injuries included a penetrated trachea, a cut thyroid gland and a fractured collarbone. He was airlifted to hospital in Halifax, where 11 days passed before he regained consciousness.
During the trial the jury had heard two starkly contrasting versions of what had occurred at the Summerville residence.
Charles Rogers testified that as he was dozing off on the couch his son stabbed him in the throat with a knife.
His son told the court he had to defend himself when his father came charging towards him carrying a gun. The son testified that the pair struggled and he pushed his father. Rogers said when his father fell over a coffee table he somehow cut himself.
The Crown argued the rapid mood swing that Rogers described his father as having gone through was contrary to other witness evidence and said that crime photos from the scene showed no broken glass or sharp objects around the coffee table that the father could have cut himself on.
The Crown maintained that the evidence pointed to a case of attempted murder, while the defence argued it was an accident or self defence.
The jury sided with the Crown.
During the trial the jury had also heard that Rogers had called 911 seeking help for his father. Defence lawyer Murray Judge questioned why someone who was trying to kill his father would have sought help for him. But about the 911 call, Crown attorney Rick Murphy said Rogers had sounded pretty casual when he told the 911 operator to send an ambulance because someone was bleeding to death.
Throughout his many court appearances between his conviction and prior to his sentencing, Rogers had been trying to deal with some of his legal matters on his own. During one court appearance he asked for a new pre-sentence report, which is a report used to assist the court in sentencing an individual. He was not happy with the fact that the probation officer who had prepared the report had worked with his father (the victim of the crime) when his father was employed with correctional services. He suggested the two were drinking buddies.
The Crown said the author of the pre-sentence report was asked about his relationship to the victim and said that they only had casual contact in the workplace and that they did not drink socially together.
Supreme Court Justice Pierre Muise decided that since the report was a year old, and also given the fact that the person who prepared the report has since retired from probation services, it was a good idea to order that a new pre-sentence report be prepared.
Another concern that Rogers had raised dealt with one of the jurors from his trial who he felt should not have been permitted to be on the jury panel. The Crown had once indicated that Rogers had said that this juror was out to get him.