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Joel Clow receives precedent-setting sentence for manslaughter in P.E.I. for killing Traci Lynch

['Facebook photo of Traci Lynch and Guardian file photo of Joel Lawrence Clow leaving court in 2011.']
Facebook photo of Traci Lynch and Guardian file photo of Joel Lawrence Clow leaving court in 2011. Clow was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter on July 8, 2019. Clow killed Lynch in 2015, leaving her in a wheelbarrow under a tarp.
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A P.E.I. man received the highest sentence ever for manslaughter in this province for killing his girlfriend in 2015.

Justice Terri MacPherson sentenced Joel Lawrence Clow in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown Monday to 12 years, following the joint recommendation made by the Crown and defence lawyers in June.

Clow pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter in the death of Traci Lynch, who he killed in the early hours of July 24, 2015, in Pleasant Grove.

Before either lawyer started their submissions on June 17, the court heard from two of Lynch's family members, including her mother, who prepared a victim impact statement that someone read for her.

Norma Lynch's statement said her daughter loved watching her son play hockey, but she couldn't be there to see him when he started to play ball in 2016.

"That choice was taken from her," Norma said.

In 2017, Justice Nancy Key found Clow guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

During the trial, Clow admitted his actions caused Traci's death, but the defence argued he didn't have the necessary intent to kill her for it to be considered murder.

The police found her body in a wheelbarrow covered with items that included a pillow, a tarp, a blanket, fishing tubs and a rain slicker.

The P.E.I. Court of Appeal overturned Key's decision and sent the matter back to trial.

In making the joint recommendation last month, Crown attorney John Diamond said he considered that Clow had a trial that ended with an appeal and a new trial ordered.

A retrial would further traumatize the victim's family and there was no guarantee as to the outcome, Diamond said.

With the 12-year sentence, Clow does not get any credit for the four years he has already spent in custody.

Defence lawyer Kent Brown said in June Clow's sentence would work out to be greater than 12 years and would be at the top of the range for manslaughter convictions.

Brown said 12 years is higher than any previous sentence for manslaughter in P.E.I. and is in range with similar offences in other provinces in the region.

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