Man found guilty of manslaughter in 2015 Kelvin stabbing sentenced as a youth, spared prison time

A Winnipeg man found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in November 2017 in the stabbing death of a teen at Kelvin High School will not be sentenced as an adult and will not serve any more time in custody.

Brett Bourne, 17, was fatally stabbed in June 2015.

The man convicted in Bourne’s death, who was 17 at the time, cannot be named due to provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The Crown had been seeking an adult sentence of five years in custody.

Defence lawyers argued the man served nine months in youth custody and is a very low risk to reoffend and therefore should be spared prison time.

Justice Brenda Keyser told court Wednesday morning the man will be sentenced as a youth.

“At the end of the day I was not satisfied that an adult sentence was warranted,” Keyser told court. “I ended up with sentencing him to a custody and supervision order for a period of one year.”

Keyser did not give reasons for the decision in court but provided lawyers with a written decision.

“Taking into consideration the fact that (the convicted man) did not initiate the confrontation and has been found to be a very low risk to reoffend, I am satisfied that it would not be in the public interest to further incarcerate him,” Justice Keyser wrote in the decision. “He has served the equivalent of nine months in pre-trial custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre and has since that time been on very strict bail for close to two years.”

“Denunciation, in my view, does not require that (the convicted man) be incarcerated again.”

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky said in an interview with CTV Winnipeg the sentence is appropriate.

“I think he can do well without an adult sentence and I think he can do well on probation,” said Brodsky. “He’s a good boy. What he did in this case was to go to the assistance of a friend of his.”

“This was something that he didn’t start.”

In the written decision, Keyser noted there was moral culpability and blameworthiness in the man’s actions to procure a knife, stab Bourne once and then attempt to portray his actions as done in self defence.

“There were tragic consequences to his actions,” Keyser wrote. “However, it must be remembered that (the convicted man) knew that (Bourne) sometimes carried weapons.”

“(Bourne) was angry at (the convicted man’s) friend, who was now dating (Bourne’s) ex-girlfriend. On the fatal date, (Bourne) was looking for a confrontation.”

During the trial, court heard Bourne was trying to start a fight with another teen, a friend of the convicted man.

The convicted man testified that he “thought Brett had a knife” and stabbed him in what Brodsky described in court as a “split second decision.”

“The Crown concedes that (Bourne) was the initial aggressor who attempted to entice (the friend) to fight him,” Keyser noted in the decision. “At the time of the infliction of the fatal wound, (the convicted man) testified that he thought (Bourne) was reaching in his pocket for a weapon even though it turned out that he did not possess one.”

The convicted man must complete 100 hours of community service.