Former hockey coach Graham James arrives at the Provincial Court of Manitoba to be sentenced for sexually abusing two former hockey players in Winnipeg, Manitoba March 20, 2012
Credits: REUTERS/Fred Greenslade
The former junior hockey coach and scout pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually assaulting former NHL star Theo Fleury and Fleury's cousin Todd Holt between 1983 and 1994.
James was sentenced to prison last April. According to court documents, he would have been eligible for parole last month were it not for the impending appeal.
Prosecutors argue Judge Catherine Carlson overemphasized the significance of prior sentences for similar offences and erred in her assessment of the totality principle.
The totality principle is invoked in cases where multiple convictions and consecutive sentences can result in disproportionately long prison terms. Prosecutors had recommended James be sentenced to six years in prison.
James was previously sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for his abuse of two junior hockey players -- including former NHLer and Elkhorn, Man., native Sheldon Kennedy -- and another young victim. James served 18 months before completing his parole in 2000.
Had James entered guilty pleas to all his crimes in 1997, an appropriate sentence would have been six years, Carlson said at his sentencing hearing last April.
Documents filed in the Manitoba Court of Appeal suggest James might not appear in person for the December hearing. Defence lawyer Evan Roitenberg has requested that James be allowed to waive his appearance. In separate documents, prosecutors opposed the move "in principle" but conceded the court has the jurisdiction to grant the request.