This story originally appeared in the Feb. 11, 2016 edition of the Chilliwack Times
A BC Supreme Court justice declined to hand a dangerous offender designation last Thursday to a deaf man with an extensive violent criminal past, which culminated in the killing of a transgendered person in Chilliwack five years ago.
Steven Frederickson was, however, handed a long-term offender designation of the maximum length of 10 years in addition to a 10-year prison sentence for the 2010 manslaughter conviction of his then roommate, Robert-Jan Planje.
In October 2013, Frederickson was acquitted of the second-degree murder of Planje at the Ashwell Road mobile home the two men shared.
The night before Planje’s death, Frederickson said the two spent the evening drinking wine, with Planje smoking marijuana while he smoked crack cocaine. Frederickson said he woke up the next day in his underwear in Planje’s bed, and he claimed he had been sexually assaulted.
At trial, Justice William Grist found the defence unbelievable since Frederickson is a large man and the 64-year-old Planje was a thin, five-foot-two-inch transgendered individual with female genitalia.
A neighbour witnessed Frederickson later drag what looked to be a wrapped body out to Planje’s car.
After a trial, Grist found reasonable doubt in the Crown’s assertion there was enough intent for second-degree murder, but he found the then 47-year-old Frederickson guilty of manslaughter. Frederickson, a crack addict, killed Planje in a violent and protracted incident that saw the small man covered in bruises, defensive wounds, and his body later dumped in a remote location near Hope.
The dangerous offender designation is handed down after three designated violent or sexual offences, and leads to an indefinite sentence and is, as Grist put it, meant for a small group of offenders.
While a terrible crime worthy of a lengthy prison term, Grist agreed with defence lawyer Ken Beatch in finding the assault not to be “at the extreme end” of criminal behaviour and rejected the Crown’s application for dangerous offender status.
The two other offences the Crown relied upon, in addition to the killing of Planje, was a violent stabbing of a young prostitute in 1987, and an unlawful confinement of a woman and her children in 1995.
The dangerous offender designation requires the Crown to prove the offences constituted a pattern of behaviour. Not only did the incidents take place over 23 years, but Grist agreed with Beatch regarding the differences in the crimes: In 1987, Frederickson used a knife to stab the young female prostitute, in 1995 there were no injuries in the unlawful confinement, and in 2010 there was no weapon used in the beating death of Planje.
While Grist declined to hand Frederickson the dangerous offender designation, he did agree to a 10-year long-term offender status designation, which amounts to a decade of court-ordered supervision after he is released from custody on the manslaughter charge.
Before sentencing on Feb. 5, Frederickson had been in custody for five years. The courts have the leeway to give between one and one-and-a-half times credit for time in pre-disposition custody. Grist gave Frederickson one-to-1.25 credit, meaning his five years is equal to six years, three months. So he has three years, nine months remaining until the beginning of his 10 years under long-term supervision in the community.