B.C.’s top court has denied the appeal of a transgendered woman wanted in Washington state for murder after claims she would not have access to hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery if extradited.
The decision is the latest in a series of court rulings dating to May 2015 in the case of Haedyn-Khris Racquel Beaumann, known as Kevin David Patterson when the case began.
Justice Christopher Grauer said in the unanimous ruling of three judges that returning the case to Ottawa for further review serves no purpose.
An “endless merry-go-round of judicial reviews and subsequent reconsiderations” is precisely what we are facing here,” Grauer said.
Former Conservative federal minister of justice Peter MacKay in October 2015 ordered Beaumann’s surrender to the United States to face trial in Washington state on first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and motor vehicle theft charges.
The appeal was for a review of the decision refusing Beaumann’s eighth late submission seeking reconsideration of the surrender order.
The latest submission to the minister “raised concerns about the availability of treatment in prison in the United States to the applicant as a transgender person; in particular, treatment for gender dysphoria.”
It was the first time the issue had been raised.
“The first two submissions raised concerns about the U.S. potential of the death penalty; the third raised concerns about the applicant’s newly discovered Aboriginal heritage; the fourth returned to the death penalty; the fifth raised safety concerns about being homosexual; and the sixth discussed the nature of the charges.
The situation hinges on a September 2014 homicide.
Richard Bergesen was found dead at his residence in Sammamish, Washington, a home he shared with the applicant. He had been brutally bludgeoned to death, his car, money and credit cards stolen.
Beaumann, then 20, was subsequently arrested in Abbotsford and charged with possession of stolen property – Bergesen’s car
In November 2014, the U.S. requested Beaumann’s extradition to stand trial for first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and theft of a motor vehicle.
A month later, the federal minister authorized the attorney general to proceed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to seek an order for committal. The Abbotsford charges were stayed.
In 2015, Justice Laura Gerow concluded the “considerable amount” of evidence, was capable of establishing guilt. Accordingly, authorized committal for extradition, a situation then needing the federal minister’s authorization.
MacKay said the fact Beaumann faces far more significant punishment in the U.S. than in Canada was no reason to deny the extradition request.
“Mr. Patterson faces the particularly heinous allegation that he beat Mr. Bergesen to death with a shovel, robbed him, and fled to Canada in Mr. Bergesen’s vehicle,” MacKay said. “In my view, the possibility of a significant custodial sentence for an individual in these circumstances would not shock the conscience of Canadians.”
Following the Conservatives’ 2015 federal election loss, Beaumann appealed to new justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. The submissions were late and the minister declined to accept them.
When Beaumann raised the Aboriginal issue, Wilson-Raybould again declined to intercede.
Grauer noted case law indicates finality can be a consideration.
“It is sufficient in this case because there is really no place else to go, and there is nothing unreasonable about the result,” Grauer said.
The judge said Washington state does not deny hormone therapy, but does allow that such therapy or other necessary medical treatment may be provided after an assessment by institution medical staff.
“Here, what would shock the conscience of Canadians is the prospect of an alleged murderer escaping justice because publicly funded gender reassignment surgery will not be available during the term of the prison sentence to be served in the United States if convicted, in a case where the general policies concerning the treatment of transgender persons have already been reviewed and found reasonable,” Grauer said.