‘He needs to be nurtured’: Psychiatrist testifies in sentencing hearing for teen who killed La Ronge restaurant owner
A psychiatrist testified that the teen who killed a La Ronge restaurant owner needs more than just incarceration.
Crown witness Dr. Declan Quinn said the teen needs five to 10 years of psychiatric treatment.
“He needs to be nurtured and supported … to help him set his life in order,” Quinn told Saskatoon Provincial Court at a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
The then 17-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery in the death of Simon Grant, 64.
About three years ago, Grant and his wife, Cora Laich, took in the teen who needed shelter and food.
Laich said things turned sour when the teen got involved with drugs and threatened their daughter. The couple tried to evict the teen – which lead to death.
Grant was beaten at his La Ronge restaurant in April 2017. He died from bleeding in the brain.
The offender’s psychiatric assessment showed he has oppositional defiant disorder and depression, had an adverse childhood spent in foster care and dealt with substance abuse.
The Crown argues the teen should serve an adult sentence. The defence is pushing for a three-year youth sentence.
"Our thinking, as defence, is that type of sentence would have more support. There'd be a psychiatrist that he's worked with for two years that would continue working with him," defence lawyer Jessie Buydens said.
The psychiatrist supported the idea of having ongoing, consistent psychiatric help. Quinn testified the teen had remorse for his crime and is capable of becoming a leader in society.
More focus needs to be on the crime, less on rehabilitation: Laich
Leaving court, Laich said more focus needs to be put on the teen’s crime.
"It just kind of hits me the wrong way – to think that so much emphasis is being put on the rehabilitation and we're getting away from the crime,” Laich told reporters.
"My husband was beat with a baseball bat and left to die in a pool of blood. That's what happened."
Quinn said the teen needs someone he can trust and help him get back on his feet; Laich said her husband tried to be that person.
“[Quinn] talked about a person who was going to guide him and show him values, that was Simon … he tried to be that mentor for this young man,” Laich said, in support of an adult sentence.
Final arguments are scheduled for May 27 in La Ronge. Three days later the judge is set to rule whether the teen will be sentenced as a youth or adult.
“These wounds have been left open for too long,” Judge Robert Lane told the gallery before adjourning on Wednesday.