Judge hands down second-degree murder conviction

NANAIMO – A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found Robert James Iverson guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Cheryl Lynn Sim.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found Robert James Iverson guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Cheryl Lynn Sim.

Sim’s body was found in a vacant lot near Barsby Park in late June 2010. Iverson was subsequently arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

While explaining his decision, Judge Robert Punnet said Sim and Iverson were part of a group consuming alcohol in the area. He said there was evidence to suggest Sim suffered head trauma. Both she and Iverson were homeless.

Basil McCormick, Crown counsel, said the Crown was satisfied with Punnett’s decision.

“Second-degree murder carries with it punishment of life imprisonment and a minimum parole ineligibility of 10 years,” McCormick said. “Crown has indicated that we’re seeking more than that and the judge has indicated that he wants a pre-sentence report.”

Sentencing could take place in the new year,  once the pre-sentence report comes back, he said, adding it will likely be a full day of sentencing.

Iverson, who represented himself during trial, interrupted Punnett repeatedly while the judge rendered his decision, but according to Stephen Taylor, the court-appointed lawyer that ensures proceedings are fair, that wouldn’t have bearing on sentencing.

“It wouldn’t affect the sentencing,” said Taylor. “People react negatively to their conviction and that’s not an uncommon thing. Courts understand that this process is emotional for all parties, in particular the accused when they’re convicted.”

Sim was trying to turn her life around at the time of the murder, said Susan Strehlau, Sim’s sister. Strehlau said she was happy with the decision.

She said she would feel relief after debriefing and calling her family.