I first heard the news that the person responsible for
the death of Emerson Curran was only given five years
for his crime, I reacted like I hope most people would
-- with outrage.
is it possible that a much bigger man can get away with
pummeling someone three years his junior so badly that
he's knocked of his feet and then continue to beat him
will he laid unconscious on the floor, and get five years?
the fact the fact that he was allowed to go free on bail
for more than six months after he pled guilty to the charge
of manslaughter which is joke onto itself.
the crime committed here is that a judge thinks the taking
of Emerson Curran's life is only worth five years.
knew Emerson and I know his parents extremely well. His
father Michael and I worked at the Orleans Star together.
In fact, I can still remember when Mike brought his newborn
son into the office to show him off.
and Catrina were understandably proud of their first child,
and he would give them many more reason for them to be
proud of him during his 20 short years on earth.
was a great kid and he never gave his parents any reason
to think otherwise. He was a good student and a talented
enough athlete to make the St. Peter Knights football
team as a starting receiver. Mike and I used to joke that
he was blessed by a gifted athlete, while I was blessed
with two of the least athletic kids on the planet.
was also a model older brother to his younger siblings
Graeme, Liam and Lauren. To understand the type of person
Emerson was, when he went out for a drive with his mother
a year before his tragic death, he told her that he had
signed his organ donation card and that if and when the
time came, he wanted to make sure she knew his wished.
"Give it all," he told her.
did either one of them know how prophetic their conversation
would be. One year later, Emerson's parents would both
proudly and painfully agree to grant his wish and donate
whatever organs could be of use.
it turned out they would donate his heart, lungs, liver,
kidneys and pancreas to five different recipients at least
one of which would have died within 48 hours without a
sure Emerson is somewhere beaming pride with pride that
his senseless passing brought a second chance at life
to others. Which brings back to the sentencing of the
man responsible and why the allotment of five years is
just perpetrating another tragedy on top of what is already
unimaginably tragic event.
don't be fooled in thinking that Bourque will spend the
next five years behind bars. Under our corrections and
parole system, the 25-year-old will be eligible for day
parole in just 14 months and full parole in 20 months.
Meaning with good behaviour, Bourque will be a free man
in less than two years.
sentencing Bourque to two years less four months with
good behaviour, Justice Karan Shaner has committed a further
indignity on both Emerson and his family.
to add insult to further injury, Justice Shaner plans
to recommend that Bourque be incarcerated in the NWT so
he can be close to his family. Talk about throwing salt
on the wound and rubbing it in.
I didn't know any better I might be swayed into believing
that Bourque benefited from a home court advantage.
a Devil's advocate might say that a five year sentence
is fair. That Bourque was drunk and that it takes two
to tango, and that he expressed deep remorse for his actions.
To which I say, the Devil's advocate sounds a lot like
don't make any concessions for drunk drivers who commit
murder, why should we make concessions for anyone else
who commits crime under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What's the old saying? Stupidity is not a defence.
are all responsible for our actions and the consequences
that result no matter what they might be.
of all someone who beats a smaller person to death should
be charged with aggravated assault as well as manslaughter,
it doesn't matter if they're drunk or not. And a proper
sentence would have been 10-12 years, which means he would
have to serve a minimum of three to four years before
he's eligible for parole.
face it, five years is little more than a slap on the
wrist and a slap in the face to everyone who knew and
for the Curran family, my heart goes out to them. Outwardly,
Mike and Catrina have held up extremely well, but I can
only imagine the hell they are going through inside.
read a lot in the media nowadays about "closure",
but in reality there is never any closure, except maybe
for the media who get to move on to the next story and
the next young life that is taken away far too early.
is never any closure and there never should be. What one
hopes for is peace. A respite from the pain and despair
that can often be immobilizing.
and Catrina are among the best people I know. They deserved
better from the justice system, but at the same time no
sentence, no matter how long or severe, will bring Emerson
back. I can only pray that God will grant them some peace
from the weight of their loss and that over time, the
bad days and restless nights will diminish leaving a lasting
memory of a prodigal son.
you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column
please write to Fred Sherwin at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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