Four years recommended in manslaughter case
Christopher Douglas Sark scheduled to be sentenced in Summerside provincial court on Dec. 9
COLIN MACLEAN SALTWIRE NETWORK colin.maclean @journalpioneer.com @JournalPEI
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Christopher Douglas Sark, 32, will have to wait another month to learn how much time he will be spending in prison. Sark is facing a joint recommendation in his case from the Crown and defence of a four-year sentence, less time he has already served in custody since his arrest. He appeared in provincial court in Summerside on Nov. 15 for a sentencing hearing, but after hearing from both sides, Judge Krista MacKay reserved her decision on the matter until Dec. 9. Sark has previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his cousin, Jamie Sark, 28. Both men are from Lennox Island First Nation in western P.E.I. Jamie died following a fight between himself and Christopher on the night of Aug. 21, 2021. Both men were heavily intoxicated at the time. Tuesday’s proceedings included a brief statement from one of Jamie’s sisters, Kelly Sark. Kelly spoke of the lasting impact her brother’s death has had on her family. “It messed me up as a person, emotionally,” she said. “I’m still haunted by unanswered questions about what happened to my brother, and I feel unsafe while worrying there may be others wandering around who may have had something do to with (his death). “I pretty much raised Jamie and I miss him so much it hurts – his goofy smile, his goofy laugh, his little smirk and his bratty attitude. I’m still struggling to come to terms with him not being able to come back home.” Christopher also offered a brief statement, read by his lawyer, Trish Cheverie. “I’m so sorry for what I did and for everything that went down,” he wrote. “I can’t take the pain and tears back … from Joyce’s family (Jamie’s mother); I can’t take the suffering back from them – but what I can do is change for the better and be a better person for everyone.” In her summations, Cheverie stressed both her client’s positive prospects for rehabilitation and the intergenerational trauma, some of which can be directly related to his family’s experiences with residential schools and other colonial mechanisms, that led him to a life plagued by isolation, loneliness, addiction and mental health struggles. After Jamie’s death and while his family and community were organizing a months-long search for him, Cheverie said, Christopher tried to drown the memory of what had happened in substance abuse. He even considered fleeing the province and starting again somewhere new. Ultimately though, he would later tell people, he decided he could not live with what he had done and decided to turn himself in. Jamie’s body was discovered in a wooded area of Lennox Island in November 2021. Christopher came forward to the police in late April 2022. Cheverie concluded by stating that her client is eager to seek treatment and, eventually, try to make some kind of amends with his family and community. “To participate in a community healing circle, accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness, that’s really important to him. If the community is willing, eventually, when things settle down and there is less anxiety in the community, he would be keen to do that as soon as he is able when he gets out of custody,” said Cheverie.