Victoria man, Brent Van Buskirk, recently lost his appeal of a sentencing decision which would see him serve a 17 year jail sentence for first degree murder, conspiracy and conspiracy to commit murder. Mr. Van Buskirk argued that the sentence was unduly harsh and long. The court disagreed.

In rejecting the Appeal, the Court stated:

[41]     [Mr Van Buskirk] has amply demonstrated that he represents a grave threat to public safety.  . .  A lengthy period of incarceration separates him from society . . .  Also, a lengthy period of supervision to sentence expiry should serve to enhance public safety.

[42]     [Mr Van Buskirk] was convicted of a most callous act of murder, committed for the basest of motives. He subsequently engaged in a conspiracy to commit murder that would involve the taking of many lives and expressed a remarkable indifference to the prospect of doing so. In my view, it cannot be said that the effective sentence imposed . . . was unduly long or harsh.

In 2004 , Mr. Van Buskirk pleaded guilty and received a 10 year sentence for first degree murder. He was 17 at the time of the offense. This was the maximum sentence available under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

In 2007, Mr. Van Buskirk was convicted for conspiracy in relation to a plan to blow-up a Surrey B.C. nightclub and commit a further murder for hire . He received sentences of seven years, and five years, respectively for these offences, which were to be served concurrently. However, these sentences would not start until after he completed his sentence for the 2004 murder conviction.

Mr. Van Buskirk once bragged that he was the country’s youngest hit man.  He also believed that his sentence was too long.  The Court of Appeal clearly disagreed.

Michael Butterfield

Lawyer & Arbitrator

November 20, 2013