Yarmouth Justice Centre TINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
There has been a fourth adjournment in the sentencing date of a Yarmouth County man convicted in October 2011 of attempting to kill his father.
The sentencing for Robert (Bobby) Charles Rogers is now set for Dec. 13, which is just over one year from his original sentencing date that had been scheduled for Dec. 9. 2011. Subsequent sentencing dates of Jan. 5, March 23 and the latest, June 25, were all adjourned.
The adjournments have all come about because Rogers has not been represented by a lawyer. He fired his lawyer after a jury found him guilty of attempted murder at the completion of his trial last October and then a new lawyer he found afterwards didn’t work out. Being in custody at the correctional centre has presented challenges in finding a lawyer since Rogers is only allowed limited telephone access and he has no Internet access.
Rogers told Supreme Court Justice Pierre Muise on June 25 that he now has a potential lawyer from Liverpool who may take his case.
“His response to me as of a couple of days ago is that he’s very interested in my case and he wants to see me,” said Rogers.
Rogers told the court he had been forced to accept a legal aid lawyer for his trial last fall when he had clearly stated he did not want that lawyer. Rogers had been represented at trial by lawyer Murray Judge.
Last October, a jury found Rogers guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. The victim was his father, Charles Rogers, who was stabbed in the throat in his Mood Road residence in May 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.
Although he has no lawyer, Bobby Rogers has been looking after some of his own legal matters. During his latest court appearance he asked for a new pre-sentence report, which is a report used to assist the court in sentencing an individual. Rogers 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 also suggested the two were drinking buddies.
“This report should not be used in the sentencing of myself,” Rogers said, alleging the author of the report knew the victim well. 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. Rogers disagreed.
Justice 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. The judge said this would also address Rogers’ concerns of there being a possible bias in the report.
Another concern that Rogers has raised deals with one of the jurors from his trial. The Crown told the Vanguard that Rogers has indicated he felt this juror was “out to get the accused.”
“I cannot declare a mistrial unless it has something to do with the way the verdict was recorded, or something like that, unless someone can show me the authority otherwise,” Justice Muise told Rogers. He also said that for the court to consider the concern that Rogers has raised, a written motion has to be formally filed with the court. Rogers indicated this was something he was going to pursue.
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. During the trial the jury heard two starkly contrasting versions of what had occurred at a Summerville residence on the evening of May 5, 2011.
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.
Crown attorney Rick Murphy argued the rapid mood swing that Rogers described his father as having gone through was contrary to other witness evidence and 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.
Bobby Rogers has been in custody since he was arrested in May 2011.