Barry Hennessey is keeping an optimistic attitude that the Supreme Court of Canada will allow his family to plead for reconsideration of the prison sentences imposed on his son, Shawn, and Dennis Cheeseman.
Shawn Hennessey is serving a 15-year sentence, while Cheeseman is serving a 12-year term for their roles in the killings of four RCMP officers near Mayerthorpe in 2005. Constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann were shot and killed by James Roszko inside a Quonset hut on his property on the morning of March 3, 2005. Roszko then turned the gun on himself, after being shot by another officer at the scene.
Hennessey and Cheeseman later pleaded guilty to manslaughter for helping Roszko get back to his property, and for providing him with a rifle and other supplies. The brothers-in-law were sentenced in January 2009.
Barry Hennessey said lawyers Peter Royal and Hersh Wolch were to file documents at the beginning of last week in an effort to argue the sentences in Ottawa, Ont., before the high court. The Alberta Court of Appeal previously declined to reduce Shawn Hennessey’s 15-year prison sentence or Cheeseman’s 12-year term.
“I can’t wait to get this out of the province, and let other judges take a look at it,” Barry Hennessey said. “It’s a real mess, and my feeling is Shawn and Dennis shouldn’t even be in there. We’re hoping to get a date soon, and get things going. I wish I had more news, and that I could say this was happening next week.”
Barry Hennessey said his family is looking into securing for Shawn some financing from Legal Aid to help cover some of the costs.
“Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks, we should hear something about a date. You file blindly, and then get an answer. There is a lot of red tape, so it could take weeks or even months.”
Barry said he isn’t sure how the process with the Supreme Court works, but the family wants the opportunity to express its views on everything they feel is wrong with the case.
“We’re doing the best we can in an awful situation,” he said. “We’re keeping it together, and we’re hoping we can make something happen. We want to thank the community – their support is unreal, and they stand behind us 100 per cent.”
Once the defence lawyers file their application for leave to appeal, the Crown has a chance to file its response. The court will then decide whether or not to hear arguments on the case.