Surrey fraudster’s ‘weak’ bid for release from jail denied

Joseph Bullerwell claimed he never meant to plead guilty and he was unaware his lawyer entered the pleas.

A convicted Surrey fraudster hoping to be released from prison because he didn’t intend to plead guilty has lost his bid for freedom.

The B.C. Court of Appeal this week denied Joseph Bullerwell interim release pending the hearing of his appeal on two counts of fraud.

In April 2012, Bullerwell pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and one of unauthorized use of a credit card. This March, he was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

However, Bullerwell says the guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by his lawyer, and that he had no intention of admitting his guilt.

He has since fired his lawyer.

In April of this year, Bullerwell filed his appeal against the convictions, but a date has not yet been set for the hearing.

Bullerwell has an extensive criminal record and has done time for several firearm and drug offences, theft, and obstructing a peace officer. Just last September he was sentenced to 10 months jail for separate theft and breach of recognizance convictions.

Bullerwell, who said he would live with his common-law wife and child if released and had a full-time job available to him, said his wife and son depended on him financially, but that he couldn’t prepare for his appeal while in custody because he needed access to a computer and law library.

He said he never intended to plead guilty, and thought he was applying for bail. On the day his guilty pleas were entered, he claimed, he was behind plexi-glass and there was chatter from a sheriff’s radio, so he couldn’t fully hear what was going on.

The Appeal Court judge, however, called the appeal “frivolous.” The Crown had argued it was hard to believe that for almost five months between the guilty plea and sentencing, he was not aware he had pleaded guilty.

Madam Justice Nicole Garson agreed.

“This is particularly difficult to accept given that Mr. Bullerwell appeared in court more than eight times after his guilty plea, alongside the same counsel who had represented him at the time the plea was entered,” Garson wrote in her June 18 decision dismissing Bullerwell’s application for release.

“The merits of the appeal are weak,” Garson added. “Mr. Bullerwell has a history of failing to comply with court orders and has missed several court appearances.”

While denying the appeal, Garson did order that the appeal be expedited given that Bullerwell has already served two months of his 10-month sentence.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read