A Victoria man has failed to convince the B.C. Court of Appeal to toss out two convictions of attempted murder on the basis of his bad eyesight.
Mark Anthony Arrieta was 16 when he shot three young men in rapid succession with a .38-calibre handgun outside the Red Jacket nightclub on View Street in the early morning of July 19, 2008, killing one person and wounding two.
Arrieta was called to the club by Somphavahn Chanthabouala, then 22, who had been in a confrontation with Thuan Le.
After he arrived, Arrieta pulled a loaded handgun from his pocket and shot at Le and his friends. His shots killed Philbert Truong a 20-year-old University of Victoria student who stepped in front of Le and injured Le and Robin Lepard.
Arrieta was convicted in April 2010 on one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Arrietas sole ground for appeal and a new trial was that his lawyer failed to raise the issue of Arrietas eyesight at trial.
An optometrist testified at the sentencing hearing that Arrietas eyesight was significantly impaired by moderate myopia and astigmatism, resulting in blurry vision.
The appellant maintains the nature of the evidence concerning his eyesight is such that it is clear the competence of his counsel was substandard, said Justice Peter Lowry of the B.C. Court of Appeal.
But Lowry concluded in a decsion released Thursday that had Arrietas eyesight been an issue at trial, he still would have been convicted of attempted murder.
The state of his vision cannot be said to have had anything to do with the clear manifestation of his intention, said Lowry in his decision.
His vision was not so impaired that without glasses he could not function He pointed and fired a loaded handgun at the chests of three men in turn in what the judge found on the testimony of the witnesses was methodical and deliberate.
Justices Edward Chiasson and Nicole Garson agreed with Lowrys decision.
Arrietas friend Chanthabouala was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.
© Copyright 2013