Teen given 9-year conditional supervision sentence in death of York cop

Written by admin on 14/11/2018 Categories: 长沙夜网

NEWMARKET, Ont. – A 19-year-old convicted of first-degree murder in the death of an Ontario police officer was spared from spending any time in custody after a judge found that the “catastrophic” injuries suffered by the youth as a result of his own actions were sentence enough.

Justice Alex Sosna instead sentenced the teen – who cannot be named – to a conditional supervision order for nine years for his role in the death of Const. Garrett Styles, who was killed in a crash north of Toronto in 2011.

“Imposing a custodial sentence will not make S.K. more accountable,” Sosna told a packed Newmarket, Ont., courtroom on Monday. “S.K. is already serving a life sentence. He is a prisoner in his own body.”

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The teen, who is now a quadriplegic, was 15 when he drove the minivan involved in the crash that killed Styles.

In a joint statement released by York Regional Police, Styles’ wife, father and the chief of police commented on the sentence.

“My children and I have been given a life sentence to have to live without Garrett and we were not found guilty of anything,” Melissa Styles, Garrett’s wife said in a statement.

“This sentence is a huge letdown.”

Garrett’s father, Garry Styles said the family was “very disappointed” with the decision.

“The sentence to us means nothing. It appears to us that a police officer’s life means nothing in the eyes of justice,” he said.

“As a former police officer, I find the sentence imposed to be lacking and opening the door to further tragedies involving police officers just doing their sworn duty.”

York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said members of the police force were unhappy with the sentence imposed.

“Notwithstanding the physical condition of the accused, this sentence does not reflect the principles of accountability referenced in the Youth Criminal Justice Act nor is it what Garrett’s family and colleagues were hoping the result would be,” he said.

“Garrett Styles was a loving husband, father, son and brother. As an organization we will continue to honour and remember Garrett for his bravery and for his contributions to keeping our community safe.”

His trial heard that he had taken the van without his parents’ knowledge or permission, as he had in the past, and was driving it – without a licence – with three passengers when he was pulled over for speeding.

Styles conducted the traffic stop in East Gwillimbury in June 2011 and court heard that the teen asked the officer to let him go so he could avoid his parents’ detection. The trial also heard that the teen refused to get out of the vehicle when ordered to do so.

READ MORE: Teen found guilty of 1st-degree murder in death of Const. Garrett Styles

Police said the minivan then suddenly accelerated and dragged Styles, who was hanging onto the driver’s door, across a highway and into a ditch before losing control and rolling on top of him.

Sosna acknowledged the “horrific and painful impact” Styles’ death had on his family and friends, acknowledging the officer’s widow and two young children in particular. He also noted the “profound” effect the officer’s death had on the community he served.

The judge found, however, that the teen had not engaged in a malevolent act.

“I find fleeing the traffic stop was an impulsive and irrational act, but not an act of viciousness,” he said.

Sosna also noted that the teen has said he never intended to take Styles’ life and was “very sad” about what had happened.

The teen’s defence lawyer had asked for no time in custody, arguing that his condition as a result of the crash was sentence enough.

The Crown asked for a sentence of five years in “open custody” and four years of community supervision. It recommended a facility in Milton, Ont., which is wheelchair accessible, for the open custody portion of the sentence.

Sosna, however, had serious doubts about the facility’s ability to meet S.K.’s many needs.

“I find S.K.’s medical needs are extensive, profound and all-encompassing, requiring virtually 24-hour, seven-day-a-week diligence,” he said. “Presently those needs are unable to be addressed.”

Court heard that S.K. has no use of his hands or feet and needs assistance with a myriad of tasks, including bathing, feeding and using the washroom, throughout the day. The teen also has to be rolled over in bed twice every night, has to be regularly monitored for medical complications related to his condition and has had his life expectancy cut short by 25 years, court heard.

READ MORE: Murder trial continues for teen accused of killing Const. Garrett Styles in Newmarket

“Accountability is a central issue in this case,” Sosna said. “S.K. by his own folly, which culminated in the catastrophic injuries he sustained, has already been rendered accountable for the murder of Const. Styles.”

Sosna found that the teen’s age at the time of the incident, the lack of a previous record, his reputation as a good student, the unconditional support of his family and his injuries were mitigating factors in the case.

He also found that, despite the teen’s disability, the youth has proven he is motivated to pursue higher education and contribute to society.

“I find that rehabilitation is not necessary,” Sosna said. “S.K. is rehabilitated.”

Among the conditions the teen now has to live under is a requirement he speak publicly three times a year for the next four years about what led to his injuries to deter others from making “the same inappropriate decisions,” Sosna said.

With files from Adam Miller

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