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Young offender convicted of manslaughter requests adult sentence so she can finish education
A woman convicted of manslaughter told a Saskatoon courtroom Thursday that she wishes to be sentenced as an adult rather than a youth.
The 20-year-old apologized to court and said a youth sentence was insufficient for her role in the death of 37-year-old Patrick Dong.
She acknowledged her 17 convictions since she was 13-years-old and said she did not want to fall back into that criminal pattern – she wanted a federal sentence so she could go back to school and finish her education.
Justice R. Shawn Smith said he was under the impression she sought a federal sentence to access “high-level programs,” adding that the provincial system “is simply a warehouse.”
The woman was previously found guilty of manslaughter and unlawful confinement for her role in the October 2016 stabbing death of Dong. She cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because she was 17-years-old at the time of the crime.
Crown prosecutor Michael Pilon argued for an 11-year prison sentence citing several factors including the woman’s involvement and the circumstances around Dong’s death.
In October 2016, Dong was found dead in a ditch in the outskirts of Saskatoon. A coroner’s report presented at trial determined Dong died from blood loss due to a series of stab wounds to the back of his leg.
According to an agreed statement of facts the woman stabbed Dong six times before leaving him in the ditch.
“This was senseless and brutal, this was a horrendous act,” Pilon said.
Pilon argued before that the woman’s involvement in Dong’s death went further than causing bodily harm.
The stab wounds that caused his death were done only by the woman, who stabbed him six times after he had been knocked down, Pilon said.
“She knew Dong had been bashed over the head, she knew people could die from blood loss, she knew the six stab wounds would cause him to bleed. She made no attempt to assist him, she knew there was no way to stop his bleeding.”
Smith responded that because of the woman’s age, and her testimony from the trial where she said she was high on crystal meth and under the influence of alcohol, that “she lost control of herself.”
Smith argued this should be a factor in her sentence.
“It seems she was just caught up in the frenzy and there wasn’t any executive-level of thinking from her.”
Pilon told the court because of the woman’s criminal past and because she was continuously getting into fights during her time in remand, she is at a significantly high risk to reoffend. Pilon also noted the woman was breaking her probation orders when she stabbed Dong.
On top of the 11-year sentence, Pilon argued she be credited for 1.25 times her time served in remand rather than the usual 1.5 because of how violent her time in remand has been.
Pilon told the court when the woman was at the Paul Dojack Youth Centre she was involved in several fights, she had gang writings in her notebook and guards reported her acting out and not listening to authority. In October 2018, she was moved to Pine Grove Correctional Centre where the Crown said she was cited for 28 incidents of criminal behavior.
“She chose herself to manipulate others in her unit to do her bidding, she likes to be in control and doesn’t like when others try and control her behavior,” Pilon said.
Defence lawyer Carson Demmans told the court the woman plans to clean up her life after her sentence. He told the court his client has stayed off drugs and hopes to finish her schooling. Demmans also argued at the time of the crime, the woman was in a drug and alcohol-fuelled frenzy and she was not in the right mental state.
Demmans recommended a sentence of five years.
Smith adjourned court to June 7 for sentencing.
The Attorney General of Saskatchewan has appealed the acquittal of the woman on the charge of first degree murder. The Crown said this appeal won’t be reviewed until the sentencing for the woman has concluded.