Boy ‘didn’t intend to harm’
STRATHMORE – The decision on whether a deadly fight was a “freak” accident or a deliberate act now lies with an Alberta judge. Crown prosecutor Danny Elliott and defence lawyer Patrick Fagan gave their final arguments yesterday in the case of a 17-year-old charged with manslaughter in the death of the victim, 16.
Fagan said his client, who can’t be named under the Young Offenders Act, didn’t mean to kill Trithart in the May 25 incident. “The result of the fight was tragic,” he told court.
“A lot of people have suffered, but (the accused) didn’t mean to seriously harm the boy.
Fagan argued the Crown has failed to prove intent during the trial.
“The Crown cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt (the accused) intended to cause harm,” Fagan said. “He’s never been in trouble before – never been in a fight.”
The accused-who was 16 years old when he fought Trithart in an after¬school, pre-arranged fight at a Chestermere park – testified Thursday the dispute began over rumours, name calling, and a mutual interest in his girlfriend. But Elliott said the accused assumed the risk of incurring serious injury by agreeing to fight.
“When you get into a fight you plan on hurting (someone) and can end up in the situation the (accused) is in now,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re lucky.”
He said evidence heard in the five-day trial proves the accused’s intentions to cause serious injury.
“He changed his shirt so blood wouldn’t soil his nice sweater – he anticipated blood to flow,” Elliott said.
Judge Gordon Clozza said he “has no doubt the pair consented to fight,” but added his final decision on the case will not be easy.
A decision will be handed down April 9.
Patrick C. Fagan is a highly accomplished lawyer with an impressive career spanning over 35 years in the legal field.