Judge to rule on bail for Dorval youth who shot and killed brother
A Montreal youth court judge will rule next month on whether to grant bail pending sentencing to a 13-year-old who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his older brother back in January.
The crown prosecutor in the case argued that the youth, who was 12 at the time of the crime, should remain detained while awaiting his sentence because he still represents a danger to society.
"Yes, he pleaded guilty. But the question is not whether we should detain someone for their lifestyle or if they take drugs. It's whether if the accused is dangerous, still poses a danger and if releasing him will undermine the public's confidence in the administration of justice," Marie-Claude Bourassa told the court.
The youth, who cannot be named because he is underaged, pleaded guilty earlier this month to criminal negligence causing death using a firearm, as well as robbery and shoplifting in an unrelated incident about three weeks before the fatal shooting on January 21. A charge of manslaughter was dropped.
The defence yesterday argued that the youth can't be denied bail based on an assumption that he will be sentenced or be detained longer. The boy's lawyer, Isabelle Schurman, said her client has already been detained for eight months, "huge for a 13-year-old."
Schurman also argued that an 18-year-old friend and other friends as well as the co-accused in the armed robbery were a negative influence on the accused. She said a house arrest-type bail with closed supervision would be more appropriate and allow the youth to reintegrate into society.
But Bourassa said they can't blame others for the boy's actions.
"The focus should be on the accused and not everyone else around him. You have to look past the smokescreen," Bourassa said.
"The attitude of the accused and his conduct before and after (the crime) are so questionable that it shows a lack of remorse and no fear of being caught in any way."
She also argued his family has not shown it can help in keeping the boy on the right path and being around them would not diminish the danger he poses to society. Bourassa said that an earlier psychiatrist's report suggesting the boy represented a low risk to society was based on lies. She said the accused lied about manipulating the firearm and what happened in the house before he shot and killed his brother and he lied about drug use and acting out which she said were illustrated in text messages between him and his friends and attest to his trustworthiness.
"This was not an ordinary 12-year-old. He looked and acted older and wanted to act like an adult," Bourassa said.
Bourassa said keeping him detained would not be unjust punishment but a way for him to be assessed before sentencing and to take responsibility for his actions.
The youth, wearing a pale orange sweater over a shirt and tie, remained mostly emotionless and said nothing while sitting next to his lawyer. His family, including his mother, father and grandmother, were sitting a few feet away in the courtroom.
The accused faces a maximum of three years in a youth detention center.