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Man convicted in bus death released on bail

Jan 11 2012

A Victoria man convicted of manslaughter for the February 2009 death of Ariana May Simpson has been released on bail pending his appeal.

On Sept. 30, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Christopher Michael Groves guilty of manslaughter for pushing Simpson onto the road, where she was crushed beneath the rear wheels of a bus.

On Dec. 14, Justice Barbara Fisher sentenced Groves to one year in prison followed by two years probation and ordered him to perform 250 hours of community service hours helping the homeless. She called her decision "very difficult."

Nine days later, on Dec. 23, Groves, who is appealing his conviction, was granted bail. A date for his appeal has not been set.

The trial heard that Groves and his friend George Westwood had gone out for a few drinks on the evening of Feb. 12. Westwood became very intoxicated and walked to the corner of Quadra Street and Pandora Avenue to buy cocaine. An uncomfortable Groves went with him.

Westwood got into an argument with some of the street people and took off his shirt to fight. Groves urged Westwood to leave the corner with its "junkies" and "crackheads."

Simpson, 20, a much-loved member of Victoria's street community, walked up to Groves and threw a straw at him.

Some witnesses who testified for the Crown said Groves gave Simpson a hard, two-handed push.

Groves testified he was just using his right arm to clear his way through the crowd that surrounded him.


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