A Richmond man who was convicted of a double murder has had his parole ineligibility period reduced by five years due to a failure by the trial judge to properly consider his Parkinson’s disease.
In February 2019, Maurio Salehi pleaded guilty to the second-degree murders of his former partner, Iryna Gabalis, 56, and Dmitri Faktorovski, 53, the new man in her life.
Gabalis had been in a romantic relationship with Salehi that came to an end in May 2015. She and Faktorovski had connected with each other on the internet at some point in 2015 and had travelled together in Europe for several weeks.
Court heard that Salehi, 59, was jealous and angry about being cast aside and had trouble accepting the fact that Gabalis had moved on to a new relationship.
In the early morning of July 15, 2015, Salehi entered Gabalis’s Coquitlam home uninvited through a garage door that had been left open. He went up to the master bedroom where Gabalis was sleeping and stabbed her repeatedly with a knife, causing her death. When Faktorovski was awoken by the noise from the attack and came upstairs, Salehi stabbed him multiple times, killing him.
Salehi was initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of second-degree murder.
Calling it a “horrendous crime,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin imposed the mandatory sentence of life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole for 20 years.
On appeal, Salehi argued that the trial judge had erred by overemphasizing the offender’s moral blameworthiness and the gravity of the offence, and had erred in principle by failing to properly consider the fact that he had Parkinson’s, a progressive disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking.
The Crown argued that the judge had made no such errors and opposed any reduction in parole ineligibility, but in a ruling released Tuesday a three-judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal agreed that the judge had erred in principle in her assessment of the medical evidence.
“While the rate of progress of Parkinson’s is not certain, the prognosis in this case is such that the appellant will have five to 10 “pretty good years” of activity and mobility, and the following 10 years will see a progressive decline in mobility and overall ability,” Justice Peter Willcock said in his written reasons. “It is likely, therefore, that significantly before the expiry of the period of his parole ineligibility, the appellant will experience hardship in prison beyond that experienced by other inmates. That foreseeable event should be addressed.”
Salehi’s period of parole ineligibility was reduced to 15 years. Justice Gail Dickson and Justice Barbara Fisher agreed with Willcock’s ruling.
Source: VANCOUVER SUN