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  • Scheduled Court Date in the Brian Ludwig Manslaughter Case

    Behind closed Doors - 17th January 2013:

    January 17th 2013 has come and gone without anything happening at the court date set for the Brian Ludwig manslaughter case. It has been postponed again until the 20th February. It seems that in Canada justice is often blind and seldom swift.

    Since 1992, there have been nine “One-Punch Homicides” recorded in Calgary. Seven of Calgary’s “One-Punch Homicides” have netted a manslaughter charge, while two cases were declared “no fault”. The average sentence for the manslaughter convictions is slightly over 2 years. (Calgary Herald).

    What is manslaughter? According to the criminal code for Canada manslaughter is:

    234. Culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide is manslaughter.1

    R.S., c. C-34, s. 217.

    What is the punishment for manslaughter according to the criminal code for Canada?

    236. Every person who commits manslaughter is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

    (a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and

    (b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.1

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 236;

    1995, c. 39, s. 142.

    I have found no reference in the criminal code that deals with “death by fist”.

    A large number of “One Punch Killings” happen at, in or near a bar and most seem to involve alcohol or drugs. Although not everyone who receives a punch to the head dies, at least one in ten do die.

    This type of killing seems to fall into a grey area, particularly at the time that the charge is made. The grey area that I speak of is “provocation”. Are law enforcement officials afraid to charge the perpetrator with second degree murder at the time because they may feel that the victim somehow “provoked” the killer in the heat of the moment to kill the victim? In a way, blame the victim for his own death?

    Law enforcement officials have verbalized to me that killing someone with a knife or gun is a slam-dunk second degree murder charge. It is easy to prove “intent” if someone is killed by either of the aforementioned weapons. However, in a trial, it is not easy to prove “intent” if someone uses a fist to kill and therefore a second degree murder charge might not stand up in court.

    Henceforth, at the time of the arrest, the charge is reduced to manslaughter.

    Murder reduced to manslaughter:

    232. (1) Culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation.

    What is provocation:

    (2) A wrongful act or an insult that is of such a nature as to be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control is provocation for the purposes of this section if the accused acted on it on the sudden and before there was time for his passion to cool.

    Questions of fact:

    (3) For the purposes of this section, the questions

    (a) whether a particular wrongful act or insult amounted to provocation, and

    (b) whether the accused was deprived of the power of self-control by the provocation that he alleges he received,

    are questions of fact, but no one shall be deemed to have given provocation to another by doing anything that he had a legal right to do, or by doing anything that the accused incited him to do in order to provide the accused with an excuse for causing death or bodily harm to any human being.1

    That’s the way I see it.

    1 http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-113.html#docCont

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