Chief Justice Martel D. Popescul on Friday ruled Curtis Vey of Wakaw, Sask., and Angela Nicholson of Melfort, Sask., were equally guilty after a jury convicted them of conspiracy to commit murder. Popescul said they should receive the same sentence.
He also imposed a weapons ban and required them to submit DNA samples, but said he believed the two were genuinely remorseful and unlikely to reoffend.
The pair were secretly recorded in 2013 discussing plans to drug Nicholson's estranged husband, Jim Taylor, and leave Vey's wife, also drugged, to die in a house fire. Brigitte Vey, captured the conversation with an iPod hidden in their farmhouse after she became suspicious that her husband was cheating on her.
Curtis Vey arrives at court in Prince Albert, Sask., on May 25, 2016. (Photo: Jennifer Graham/Canadian Press)
The Veys, incidentally, are the parents of National Hockey League player Linden Vey of the Vancouver Canucks.
Throughout the trial, the defence argued that the conversation was not serious and that Vey and Nicholson had no intention to follow through with the murder. Crown prosecutor Lori O'Connor was seeking a sentence of six years.
After her arguments, she called on Brigitte Vey to make a statement.
"You can't even imagine the horror I felt when I listened to that tape,'' Brigitte Vey told her husband. "You told me earlier in the day that you loved me. I couldn't believe my husband could talk so easily about getting rid of me.''
In the scratchy kitchen-table recording, Nicholson was heard chatting with Vey about her birthday and flowers that he gave her for Valentine's Day, before the conversation shifted to their spouses.
"It could be a number of days before anybody's suspicious he's gone,'' Vey was heard saying. "Is there going to be really anybody who really is worried about him?''
"I can't even kill a frickin' mouse.''
They talked about going into Taylor's house, and Vey cautioned her to make sure she was wearing gloves.
"The bottom line is that's how, you know, it's set up to be an accident, right?'' he said. "Do you know what I mean? Like, the house burns down.''
Angela Nicholson arrives at court in Prince Albert, Sask., on May 25, 2016. (Photo: Jennifer Graham/Canadian Press)
Nicholson admitted in court that she and Vey talked about doing something to their spouses, but added they would never act on it.
"You know what, when the time came closer, that's probably all it would have been, just talk. You say things out of anger, but nothing that you intend to do,'' she said.
"I can't even kill a frickin' mouse.''
Despite the trauma and "months of panic attacks'' she suffered, Brigitte Vey said she forgives her husband.
"I don't believe that any bitterness or resentment could solve this,'' she said.
'Miles away' from actually following through, lawyer says
Curtis Vey's lawyer, Aaron Fox, called for leniency. He argued that the plot was unsophisticated and unlikely to go beyond talk.
"They were miles away from actually doing anything,'' he said. "This is an offence we see as on the lower end of the scale.''
Ron Piche, representing Nicholson, said that there were no aggravating factors in the case. Along with Fox, he outlined what he later called "a myriad of mitigating facts,'' including the lack of any criminal record, together with the haphazard nature of the plan.
Popescul agreed with Piche and Fox that the plan was unsophisticated, did not involve any concrete action and did not show "a high degree of planning.''
"It may be speculated whether they were even capable of carrying out their plan,'' he said.
However, he also touched on the motive of the crime, which he found was at least partially financial.
"Why good people do bad things is a mystery to me.''
Vey and his wife had recently drawn up a will naming each as sole beneficiaries, while Nicholson was apparently planning to forge Taylor's signature on a fraudulent will. Popescul used this aggravating factor as a basis for his sentence.
"I must say that I feel sorry for your families, and sorry for both of you as well,'' he said to Nicholson and Vey. "Why good people do bad things is a mystery to me.''
— With files from CJVR, CKOM and CKBI
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