Bosma trial: Understanding the options given to jurors
Flowers and photos sit at a memorial to Tim Bosma outside a farm in North Dumfries, Ont., on Friday, May 17, 2013. (Terry Kelly / CTV Kitchener)
Jurors at the trial of Tim Bosma’s accused killers have been given four different options for their findings.
Either man can be found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, or nothing.
Jurors do not have issue the same verdict for Dellen Millard as they do for Mark Smich. Any verdicts reached must be unanimous, and must mean jurors are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime in question.
Each offence carries with it different penalties, as well as different suggestions of what jurors believe Millard and/or Smich’s culpability to be in Bosma’s death.
This is the most serious of the options available to the jury.
It is also the offence Smich and Millard are charged with, although both have pleaded not guilty.
First-degree murder requires a belief from jurors that the accused not only killed Bosma, but did so deliberately and planned the killing in advance.
A conviction on first-degree murder carries with it an automatic sentence of life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Second-degree murder is the offence Smich and/or Millard can be convicted of if jurors believe they were involved in killing Bosma, and knew they were killing him, but did not plan the murder out ahead of time.
This offence also carries a mandatory penalty of life imprisonment, with the judge able to set parole eligibility for anywhere between 10 and 25 years.
While the least serious of the three conviction options given to jurors, manslaughter is still a serious crime.
It carries with it a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. For a manslaughter which involved the use of a firearm, the minimum sentence is four years in prison.
A manslaughter conviction for either Millard or Smich would mean that jurors believed they killed Bosma, but did not intend to do so.
Jurors also have the option of not convicting Millard and Smich of anything.
If this happens, it would mean that all jurors believe the Crown did not prove its case against the two men beyond a reasonable doubt.
Under this or any other outcome, Millard and Smich would still face first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Laura Babcock, a Toronto woman who disappeared in July 2012.
Millard faces a third charge of first-degree murder in relation to the December 2012 death of his father, Wayne Millard.