June 27, 2014 - 4:29 PM
KAMLOOPS – After killing his friend, burying his body and keeping it a secret for nearly 13 years, a Lytton man is expected to spend another six to nine years in prison.
In 1999, when the two friends were drinking, William Robert Smith, born 1967, beat Sandy Charlie to death in 1999 after hearing he reported him to police on a domestic assault. He then dug a grave and buried Charlie’s body in Lytton.
“(Charlie) was (killed) for doing the right thing,” Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston told a Kamloops Supreme Courtroom where several of Charlie’s family members sat on Friday morning.
Livingston told the court the search for the body resulted in more sorrow for the family after the deceased’s son died from exposure while searching for his father’s remains near the Fraser River.
While locals conducted a lengthy search for Charlie’s body, it wasn’t found until 2011 when an excavator uncovered the remains. The discovery lead to an RCMP Mr. Big sting directed at Smith, which involved undercover officers inviting him to join a false criminal organization.
Smith was arrested after he confessed to killing Charlie. He shared what happened with an undercover officer posing as the organization’s boss.
Livingston addressed the court and said Smith deserved up to a nine and a half year prison sentence for his “deliberate” motives to hide Charlie’s body. Crown said Smith’s continued criminal activity after killing Charlie demonstrated lack of remorse.
Smith’s lawyer, Don Campbell, said his client’s background is “marred by substance abuse.”
“Alcohol has ruined Mr. Smith’s life,” Campbell said. “It brought about the death of Mr. Charlie who was a good friend to Mr. Smith.”
Campbell said Smith also suffered physical and emotional abuse from his father, then again in a residential school and was abandoned by his family.
Members of the Lytton First Nation banned Smith as a result of this case. Campbell said while Smith respects the decision, he is asking for “controlled circumstances” upon his release where he can visit his mother who lives in the town.
Campbell said Smith is a “decent fellow” when sober, but admitted people have expressed safety concerns when Smith is drinking.
Campbell said the deception of the police Mr. Big sting affected his client emotionally. He said the plan was to “lure and seduce him from his pro-social lifestyle.”
Outside of court, Campbell said he is asking for a five to six year prison sentence.
Justice Ian Meiklem is expected to deliver his sentencing at a later date.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014