VANCOUVER - A decision by the country's top court to uphold a kidnapping conviction in a gunpoint abduction in 2006 is just one more step towards a fairer justice system, says the victim and former Vancouver resident.
The Supreme Court of Canada decided Thursday to throw out the appeal of Sam Tuan Vu, one of the men convicted of kidnapping Graham McMynn in Vancouver.
The top court agreed with the B.C. Court of Appeal that a trial judge erred when he convicted Vu for the unlawful confinement of McMynn, rather than of kidnapping.
McMynn, the son of a wealthy Vancouver businessman, was grabbed from his car under threat of weapons more than a week before police made his rescue.
"This is a great win as it sets a precedence that will be followed in the future," said McMynn of the court's decision in an email to The Canadian Press.
"Unfortunately it is only one step towards a fairer system in a very unbalanced legal system where the burden of proof is too onerous to truly be effective."
The court heard Vu bought a tarp and some duct tape four days before McMynn's rescue, and threatened to kill him if a ransom was not paid.
However, the trial judge concluded that Vu could not be convicted of kidnapping since he was not involved when McMynn was first taken and then moved between houses in British Columbia's Lower Mainland.
Vu was acquitted of the kidnapping charge and instead convicted of the lesser crime of unlawful confinement and sentenced to eight years.
But the B.C. Appeal Court overturned the acquittal, and Jennifer Duncan, who served as Crown counsel on the Supreme Court appeal said Vu has since been re-sentenced to 10 and a half years.
"Using common sense, it is clear that a criminal is definitely a part of the kidnapping if they are aware that a person has been kidnapped and has taken part in confining that victim," wrote McMynn in the email.
"It shouldn’t matter that the justice system couldn’t place the criminal at the initial kidnapping in order to say he was a part of it."
He said he feels great that the justice system has convicted somebody for what they actually did, but noted it's unfortunate that the process took six years.
"When the police catch people holding a victim and are not able to convict all of the defendants, something is definitely broken with the system," wrote McMynn.
Duncan said Vu has been re-sentenced to 10.5 years and is now back in custody after being out on bail pending his appeal.
Vu turned himself in to police at 1 p.m. Wednesday, and will be transferred to a federal institution from the pre-trial facility where he has been held, she said.
Vu has two years and four months left on his warrant, she added. The parole board will determine next details, including his statutory release date.
— With files from Steve Rennie in Ottawa