POLITICS

What you need to know about the 'Murder for lobster' case in Nova Scotia

01/29/2015 01:38 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. - Joseph James Landry, 67, was convicted of manslaughter and is the first of four people to be sentenced in a case that the Crown has called "murder for lobster." Here's what you need to know about it:

CROWN CASE:

Charged Landry with second-degree murder, telling the jury that Phillip Boudreau's death was the result of a sustained attack by a three-man lobster fishing crew on board a boat called the Twin Maggies after their traps were cut. Crown attorney Steve Drake told the jury the Twin Maggies rammed the 43-year-old man's speedboat three times at the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour on June 1, 2013. Prosecutors also said Landry fired four shots from a rifle, one of which hit Boudreau in the leg. Drake said Boudreau's boat overturned after it was rammed the third time and he was then hooked with a fishing gaff and dragged out to sea before he was tied to an anchor.

DEFENCE CASE:

Defence lawyer Luke Craggs said the testimony of a key witness, deckhand Craig Landry, was flawed. He said the Crown's argument that Landry gaffed Boudreau and dragged him out to sea was unbelievable because it would have been difficult to hook the man's body from the deck of the Twin Maggies. He also discounted a statement his client gave to police where Joseph Landry says he fired four shots at Boudreau, arguing the fisherman was taking the blame to protect others.

THE SENTENCE:

The Crown asked the judge to sentence Joseph Landry to 15 years in prison and the defence recommended a sentence of seven years, minus 2 1/2 years already spent in custody.

Judge Joseph Kennedy sentenced him to a 14-year prison term, with credit for 2 1/2 years served in custody, meaning he has 11 1/2 years left on his sentence.

The Crown and defence said Landry will become eligible for parole once he serves a third of his 11 1/2 year prison term.

THE VICTIM:

Boudreau's body has never been found. His sister told the court her brother's death was cruel and when she looks outside she knows she will never see him walking his dog again.

"One of the hardest things is the ringing of the phone, where we hope and pray that it will be someone telling us his remains have been found ... so our family can have the closure and the much needed rest that we deserve, so that the forgiving and the healing can begin," Margaret Rose Boudreau said in her victim impact statement.

Speaking to Joseph Landry she said: "As a member of our community, I looked up and considered you a family friend ... ."

"You are a bad example to our community. Our community acts differently towards us now. Before people would visit us daily and involve us in community fundraising. Now they seem to think it would be a burden for us."

FUTURE TRIALS:

Craig Landry, who is Joseph Landry's third cousin, was previously charged with second-degree murder but that was withdrawn. He now faces a charge of accessory after the fact. The captain of the Twin Maggies, Dwayne Matthew Samson of D'Escousse, faces a second-degree murder charge. His wife Carla Samson, who owns the lobster boat, faces a charge of accessory after the fact. She is also the daughter of Joseph Landry. All three have yet to stand trial.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version reported that the judge would leave it with the parole board to determine parole eligibility.