3-year sentence sought
Crown calls for 3 years in jail on top of time served for boy convicted of manslaughter in killing of Terry Pringle
Terry Pringle’s parents described the “sick, empty feeling” of losing their son as sentencing submissions were heard Tuesday afternoon for a 17-yearold who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the Stewart Street man’s November 2016 beating death.
“It’s a sick feeling when your son’s life is only worth a $100 bill,” read Pringle’s mother, Beverly Kingston, referring to the cocaine offered as payment for the assault as she read her victim impact statement in Peterborough Ontario Court of Justice.
Samantha Hall, who orchestrated the assault, was sentenced Tuesday morning to 26 months in prison for conspiracy to commit an indictable offence causing bodily harm.
Her son went through life without hearing the knock of police at his door, Kingston said before reading a victim impact statement written by her husband Ralph, Pringle’s stepfather, in which he called the 42-year-old “a fun-loving man with a very big heart.”
“I know I will never get to hold my son or hear his laugh. That was taken from me,” he wrote, asking the boy why he didn’t instead call police with his phone. “I will never forgive as I will never stop loving my son.”
The Crown seeks three years in custody on top of the 350 days the youth has already served at Cobourg’s Brookside Youth Centre, while the defence seeks a two-year sentence that gives him credit for the pre-sentence custody.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Sept. 6 after initially being charged with first-degree murder. He will return to court Nov. 20 to learn his sentence.
A youth sentence is appropriate, given circumstances that includes the boy’s recent plea, assistant Crown attorney Kelly Eberhard submitted.
She pointed out that the Crown applied for an adult sentence in March, but is not proceeding with it – although she told Madam Justice Esther Rosenberg she can still be guided by similar cases where youths were sentenced as adults.
Because the Crown cannot ask for probation on top of a threeyear sentence, Eberhard said it is asking for three years of custody and supervision, split 70:30 or even 50:50.
For example, the boy could serve two years and then, a month prior to his release, return to court so a judge can determine the conditions of the supervision portion of the sentence.
The Crown also seeks orders to submit DNA and not to have contact with his co-accused and several members of Pringle’s family, including the Kingstons.
A pre-sentence report – an investigation into the boy’s history – ordered in the case provided the base for several submissions made by the lawyers.
As Eberhard made submissions on mitigating and aggravating factors, she pointed out that the information provided in the report is mostly positive and how the 17-year-old was given the highest grade one can achieve in the process.
“He has used his custodial detention in a positive, constructive way, so far,” she said, adding that the boy was always polite and “very candid” in providing information during interviews with psychologists and other professionals.
The boy became involved because it was a “job” for the self-identified member of a gang, Eberhard said, pointing out how he spoke about how he sought acceptance.
The prosecutor pointed out, however, that Pringle was killed in the sanctity of his own home as part of a planned activity. The boy was to make a recording of the beating to prove the plan was carried out and to get “blow” as payment.
Afterwards, he made no attempts to mitigate the circumstances, she added.
Eberhard pointed out that it is rare for the Crown to ask that credit not be given for time spent in custody, but noted that, based on previous criminal cases, that the decision whether or not to do so remains discretionary.
If the 350 days were to be subtracted from the three years, the sentence would no longer be suitable given the aggravating factors and seriousness of the case, she argued.
Defence lawyer Cydney Israel disagreed, saying the boys should be credited on a 1:1 basis for the nearly 12 months he has spent in custody.
She asked the judge to consider an eight-month custodial sentence followed by four months of conditional supervision. Serving a longer custodial sentence would be deleterious to his rehabilitative efforts, the Toronto lawyer argued.
The boy is confident that he will have completed all credits needed to graduate high school by next June, which would “dovetail” with the defence request for time served and an additional eight months in custody, Israel later added.
The lawyer said one of the reasons the defence is asking for pre-sentence custody to be deducted is the fact that her client spent between six and eight weeks in medical segregation after an assault left him with eating through a tube because of a broken jaw.
“This was an extremely hard time for (the youth),” she said.
Israel also took issue with some aspects of the report, noting that three hours of testing results in eight pages of the document.
She said some of the wording makes it sound like historical issues are current, when her client has made significant gains in many areas.
“I want to make sure this is in context for us.”
Not acting out or retaliating to the two assaults he has endured are signs that her client has done a “complete 180” while in custody, Israel said.
The boy will be sentenced Nov. 22 at 2:15 p.m. in Courtroom 3.
NOTE: See related story on Page A1.