Woman loses sentence appeal, must serve one year

A Pritchard mother who struck her husband's lover with a frying pan will stay in jail after B.C.'s Court of Appeal said her one-year mandatory sentence is not "cruel or unusual."

April Stewart, 45, lost an appeal of her sentence Friday. She has been in jail since December, when the same court ruled her conviction was justified.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury convicted Stewart in May 2008 of assault, using a firearm in a careless manner, illegal possession of a firearm, and being unlawfully in a dwelling house.

She was also found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of an indictable offence - a crime with a one-year mandatory jail sentence.

At this appeal, lawyer Leyna Roenspies argued that mandatory jail sentence was cruel and unusual punishment and disproportionate to the offence.

Chief Justice Lanch Finch found otherwise, saying while the sentence might prove difficult for Stewart, it is not unduly harsh. The offence was serious and had potential to cause substantial harm, he noted.

Stewart and her friend, Roxanne Holland, were both charged after a June 11, 2007, incident at Carrie Dan's home. Dan lives just up the road from Stewart in Pritchard. Holland was acquitted of all the charges.

The Crown said the two women, armed with a .22-calibre rifle, showed up at Dan's home after midnight to confront her about an affair Dan had with Stewart's husband.

During the trial, Dan conceded she had been romantically involved with Stewart's husband.

Stewart has four children and no previous criminal record

The woman will be eligible to apply for day parole after one-sixth of her sentence has passed and full parole at one-third. If she fails to get early release, she will be statutorily released after two-thirds of the sentence is over, with the remaining four months served on parole.

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