Christopher Garnier's girlfriend calls him kind, genuine in letter of support
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2018 6:13PM ADT Last Updated Tuesday, May 29, 2018 7:31PM ADT
Christopher Calvin Garnier, convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Truro police officer Const. Catherine Campbell, walks with girlfriend Brittany Francis (left) at Nova Supreme Court for the start of his trial in Halifax on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan)
HALIFAX -- The partner of a Halifax man convicted of murdering a woman he met at a downtown bar has written a glowing letter to a judge about Christopher Garnier, calling him a kind, genuine and thoughtful person.
Brittany Francis's letter is one of 31 letters of support submitted to Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Joshua Arnold as part of Garnier's parole ineligibility hearing and made public Tuesday.
Garnier strangled 36-year-old Catherine Campbell, an off-duty Truro police constable, and used a compost bin to dump her body near a harbour bridge on Sept. 11, 2015.
In her letter dated April 4, Francis -- Garnier's common-law spouse -- said that the 30-year-old Garnier has changed her life, taught her how to love herself, and has helped her to grow as a person.
She added: "I love him more today than I ever have."
"I consider myself incredibly lucky to call Christopher my significant other," Francis wrote to Arnold, who presided over Garnier's trial and his parole ineligibility hearing.
"He truly is the best kind of person inside and out," she wrote. "He saved me from me and (has) given me something to look forward to for the future -- our future."
In December, a jury convicted Garnier of second-degree murder and interfering with human remains.
The Crown argues Garnier should have to serve 16 years before he's able to apply for parole, while the defence argues for a parole ineligibility period of 10 years.
Garnier's father, Vince Garnier, wrote a letter appealing for leniency in the case.
"Chris and our family think about Catherine and her family daily. When Chris says (repeatedly) to us that he would gladly give his life to have her back with her family, I know that he is truly sincere," Vince Garnier wrote in his March 26 letter.
"The tremendously tragic event ... caused Chris to developed post-traumatic stress disorder, consequences of which have caused him to have night terrors, flashbacks, difficult sleeping, hypervigilance and more."
Vince Garnier said while his son was on bail, he enrolled in an online program at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., with a goal of one day obtaining a psychology degree and working in the criminal justice system. He said his son "saw a gap in the system whereby inmates with mental health disorders are not being treated effectively," and wants to help.
"I was, and still am, so very proud of him. With the utmost sincerity, Chris was, and is, my life," said Vince Garnier of his only child.
He detailed a list of goals his son wrote on a brown cardboard toilet paper roll while he was in custody after his arrest: 1. Hug everyone 2. Help people 3. Show Brittany the Cabot trail 4. Restart my career 5. Start a family 6. Spend all my time with loved ones 7. See the world 8. Cherish every second 9. Make a difference in the world and people's lives.
He also requested that his son be sent to a medium- or minimum-security prison, arguing he wouldn't get the help he needs for his post-traumatic stress disorder at a maximum-security facility.
Christopher Garnier's parole ineligibility hearing got underway Monday, but was adjourned after legal issues arose.
The Crown said seven to 10 victim impact statements have been filed as part of the parole ineligibility hearing.
Expert testimony from two defence witnesses who have examined Garnier's mental health and sentencing arguments will also be heard when the case returns to court Aug. 27.
Garnier had argued at his trial that Campbell died accidentally during rough sex.
He is appealing his conviction in part because he says police interview tactics elicited a false confession.