A Canadian man who was convicted of murdering a female policeman in 2015 is arguing that he should be released from prison because he suffers from PTSD caused by the murder.
In September 2015, Christopher Garnier, 30, met Truro officer Catherine Campbell, 36, at a bar in Halifax, then went with her to a McCully Street apartment. Once there, according to the prosecution, Garnier strangled Campbell in a “gruesome way, in that it would not have been quick and immediate. Her nose was broken; the cartilage in her neck was broken. He moved her body and concealed numerous pieces of evidence, some of which was never recovered.” Prosecutors noted that Garnier was training to become a firefighter, but never called 911 and did not attempt CPR.
Garnier then dumped her body into a compost bin near a harbor bridge. He told the jury he didn’t recall using the bin to dispose of Campbell’s body; it lay there undiscovered for five days.
Garnier was convicted of the crime last December, triggering an automatic life sentence, but on Monday a hearing will be held to decide when he can apply for parole. Garnier had argued Campbell died accidentally during rough sex.
Garnier’s attorney Joel Pink said Garnier was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by Dr. Stephen Hucker, who was hired by the defense team, as well as the psychologist currently treating him. Hucker told the court that Garnier suffered from acute stress disorder immediately following Campbell’s death.
The testimony of Dr. Hucker clearly indicates that there is a strong link between Mr. Garnier’s illness and his interference with human remains; therefore, it should be considered a mitigating factor in his sentencing (on that charge). Courts have consistently held that a sentencing court’s application to the principles of sentencing will be influenced by the presence of a mental illness. In such circumstances, the primary concern in sentencing shifts to treatment as the best means of ensuring the protection of the public and that the offending conduct is not repeated.
Pink added that Garnier is a “kind, caring person” who has expressed regret over his actions.
Crown lawyers Christine Driscoll and Carla Ball countered, “Mr. Garnier not only murdered Ms. Campbell, he interfered with Ms. Campbell’s remains. He demonstrated a callous disregard for Ms. Campbell, and made an attempt to cover his crime. The message should be sent that Mr. Garnier should forever be remembered as the person who stole Ms. Campbell’s future for no reason, and then treated her remains like garbage.”