KAMLOOPS - When Anthony Scotchman was handed a seven-year prison term for manslaughter this afternoon at Kamloops Supreme Court, family members of the deceased breathed an audible sigh of relief.
Justice Dev Dley sentenced Scotchman, 27, today, March 11, to seven years in prison for the killing of Archie LePretre. LePretre was attacked by Redd Alert gang members after he went with his cousin to shoot hoops at Stuart Wood Elementary nearly five years ago on March 22, 2011.
Unknown to them, the pair was targeted by the group based on his cousin's affiliations with a rival Lower Mainland gang. LePretre had no connections to either gang. During the pair’s basketball game, Travis Johnny, Scotchman and a third assailant showed up at the school with their faces covered by bandanas and began beating the two men. LePretre was stabbed in the neck and bled to death.
Travis Johnny was identified as the main perpetrator of the attack, Justice Dley said, but it was Scotchman’s actions which precipitated it.
During the event, Dley said Scotchman verbally encouraged Johnny’s attack on LePretre even though he did not actively engage in the outbreak himself. Before the fight, he received directions from fellow Redd Alert gang members and facilitated the beating by driving himself, Johnny and another to the schoolyard.
“He was the catalyst of the attack. Although he was acting on orders of higher authority… it was Mr. Scotchman who initiated the attack,” Dley said. “(He) knew or ought to have known that the risk of serious injury or death was a serious consequence."
Dley said the aggravating element of his crime was he had no previous dealings with LePretre who did not provoke his assailants. Scotchman planned the attack, Dley said; he parked his car away from the schoolyard, covered his face and carried a knife.
"These facts require a sentence at the higher end of the range, more in keeping with a near-murder,” he said.
Mitigating circumstances in Scotchman’s favour: He had no criminal record prior to the attack, pleaded guilty and indicated he’s since disassociated himself from the gang.
The sentence fell below the eight to 10-year range Crown prosecutors Bernie Caffaro and Peter Favell asked for. Scotchman’s lawyer, Robert Claus requested a provincial jail sentence of two years less a day and a three-year probationary period, which drew verbal criticisms from the victim’s family members who filled half the courtroom gallery.
Dley characterized LePretre as a man in the wrong place at the wrong time and called him an "innocent man who had done nothing wrong."
“The loss of his smile, laughter and generosity continue to haunt his family,” he said.
Johnny is still awaiting sentencing for the second-degree murder of LePretre, which he pleaded guilty to in November. The courts are still awaiting results of a Gladue report, specifically for First Nation offenders, before determining sentence.
Prior to the court case, two other men were arrested for the attack, but were released based on a lack of evidence.
Upon his release, Scotchman will submit his DNA into the national registry and will be prohibited from owning firearms for a 10-year period. Based on time already served before the sentence, he has an additional 50 months to serve or approximately four years.
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