Defence questions victim's PTSD diagnosis in Hatchet Cove shooting case

·2 min read
Michael Ralph, left, the defence lawyer for Harvey Murlin Price, right, objected to several claims a victim impact statement on Friday, triggering a delay in Price's case. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)
Michael Ralph, left, the defence lawyer for Harvey Murlin Price, right, objected to several claims a victim impact statement on Friday, triggering a delay in Price's case. (Ryan Cooke/CBC - image credit)

The sentencing hearing for a man convicted on seven firearms offences in Hatchet Cove was waylaid Friday after defence counsel took issue with the victim impact statement in the case.

Impact statements are a routine part of the sentencing process: the victim explains how the crime affected their lives. The judge will take it into consideration before handing down a sentence.

In the case of Harvey Murlin Price, his defence lawyer wanted the prosecution to prove the claims made by victim Edison Avery, who says he was left with post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, and a loss of income following a shooting in 2018.

During a hearing in Clarenville on Friday, defence lawyer Michael Ralph said Avery is "ambulant" and "outgoing," and that he has concerns he "may be overstating it."

He also said he wants evidence Avery's conditions are due to the shooting and not because of other factors.

Edison Avery, right, built this cabin in Hatchet Cove, where his ex brother-in-law came on Sept. 2, 2018, and fired two shots.
Edison Avery, right, built this cabin in Hatchet Cove, where his ex brother-in-law came on Sept. 2, 2018, and fired two shots.(Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Avery and his partner Chris Neal were on the wrong side of a shotgun on Sept. 2, 2018, outside Avery's cabin in Hatchet Cove. Avery had recently split from his ex-wife, and had been dealing with threats from her brother, Harvey Murlin Price.

The situation came to a head when Price came to the cabin and pulled a shotgun out of his truck. Both Avery and Neal said Price called them anti-gay slurs before pulling the trigger twice. Neither man was hit by the shots.

Price was convicted on two counts of uttering threats and five weapons offences related to shots fired at the cabin.
Price was convicted on two counts of uttering threats and five weapons offences related to shots fired at the cabin.(Ryan Cooke/CBC)

Avery, who was a mortician in St. John's, has not been able to return to work since the shooting. In his victim impact statement, he said his insurance company no longer covers the full cost of his therapy. Ralph indicated he also wanted proof of that statement.

Crown prosecutor Cory Binderup seemed peeved by the requests, but asked Justice Katherine O'Brien for time to compile documents from Avery's doctors, employer and insurance company.

The case was set over until May 20.

Neither the Crown nor defence had a chance to make sentencing submissions on Friday.

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