Charge: First Degree Murder
The client, R.F., was charged together with 4 co-accused, S.S., A.C., S.Q., and Z.M., with one count of first degree murder in connection with the death of Q.S. Two additional alleged perpetrators of the murder, V.L. and A.W., were not apprehended by the police.
The Crown alleged that the deceased was lured to a karaoke room where he was ambushed by some of the client's co-accused who kicked him in the head and hit him in the head with a microphone striking a fatal blow.
The client did not participate in the actual beating of the deceased although he remained in the karaoke room for the duration of the beating. There was evidence suggesting that the client and two of his co-accused encouraged the assailants to beat the deceased. There was also evidence suggesting that the client and these two co-accused were "the muscle" in case something did not go as planned. The Crown alleged that the client and these two co-accused were parties to the first degree murder committed by the actual assailants of the deceased. The Crown alleged that the murder was first degree murder since there was planning and deliberation or, in the alternative, that the murder was first degree murder since the murder was committed while the client and his co-accused were perpetrating a forcible confinement and the robbery of the deceased and one of his friends.
The defence retained the services of psychiatric and psychological experts to assess the client since it was believed that the client suffered from a diminished mental capacity caused, in part, by brain cancer and related brain surgery when he was a teenager. This arduous and lengthy process was embarked upon not only because there was a possibility that the client might be found not to have the mental capacity to form the intent to murder, but also because proof of the client's diminished mental capacity would go a long way towards convincing the Crown to accept from the client a plea of guilty to manslaughter. The defence was ultimately successful in this regard.
Accordingly, the client was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. The client was sentenced to one day in jail in addition to the time that he had already spent in pre-trial custody. The client had been in pre-trial custody for a period of 2 years and 9 months. The client was also ordered to be on probation for a period of 18 months.
This was a tremendous win for the client. A conviction for first degree murder would have resulted in the client being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. A conviction for second degree murder would have resulted in the client being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a period of 10 to 25 years. A person who receives a life sentence and is released on parole will remain on parole for the rest of his or her life. A breach of parole will result in the person having to return to prison to complete the remainder of his or her life sentence.