The mom of a Gimli, Man., man is frustrated that a teenager who admitted to fatally stabbing her son two years ago won’t be required to serve any more time in custody.
“It’s sending the wrong message to our youth that it’s okay to carry around knives,” said Leah Engbaek.
Evan Engbaek, 18, died after being stabbed during a fight with the teenager, who can’t be named, near the community’s main street in July 2017.
On Wednesday in Gimli, provincial court Judge Murray Thompson sentenced the 17-year-old, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September, ruling the boy would not need to serve additional jail time.
“I find that a further period of custody is not required for the protection of the public and for the accused’s rehabilitation,” Thompson told court. “This was an act by an immature 16-year-old.”
Thompson told court several factors were taken into consideration, including the teen’s age – he was 16 at the time of the offence and he’s already spent 615 days in custody which totals 2 ½ years with a 1 ½ day credit for time served prior to sentencing.
The judge noted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act the maximum sentence for manslaughter must not exceed three years.
Thompson said he also took into account a Gladue report because the boy is Metis. His father is Indigenous and judges are required to consider the legacy of factors such as the residential school system when sentencing offenders.
“The fact that a young man was killed on a main street in broad daylight is undeniably tragic and senseless,” said Thompson. “The sentence imposed by the court is not a measurement of his life.
“The impact of Evan’s sudden death on family, friends and loved ones has been lasting and profound.”
Court heard it was a little after 1 p.m. when Evan rode his bike downtown to buy a Slurpee.
The accused was sitting on a bench waiting for a ride after finishing work.
“For no apparent reason, Evan cycled by, insulting words were exchanged,” Thompson said during sentencing.
Court heard the teen told counsellors in a pre-sentence interview he brandished a knife he carried for work to scare off Evan who was unarmed.
A fist fight broke out, Evan was stabbed in the chest and died in hospital.
Engbaek said she walked out of the courtroom when the sentencing decision, which left her feeling numb, came down.
“It’s absolutely gut-wrenching,” said Engbaek. “I get to say good morning to an urn and good night to an urn.
“I never got to say goodbye.”