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Convicted killer placed in 'hornet's nest,' lawyer says

Apr 13 2012

Frederiko Kodiak Louie would have not killed if he had been placed in supportive housing and released into the community with intensive supervision, his defence lawyer said Thursday at his sentencing hearing.

"This case was preventable," Robert Mulligan told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston.

In December, the 27yearold First Nations man, who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, was convicted of manslaughter in the stabbing death of Mark Henderson, 35, at the City Metro Suites on Nov. 11, 2010.

Mulligan reminded the court that Louie was placed in the motel by members of the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team. Mulligan said he did not intend to be critical and understood the team had limited resources, but said the motel is a place where many individuals struggle with drugs and alcohol and conflict was likely.

"Mr. Louie was placed in a hornet's nest," Mulligan said. "No one checked on him later that day. Trouble was brewing in the motel, and Mr. Louie was trying to cope on his own."

Evidence at trial showed Louie was tormented by Henderson and other residents, who insisted on hanging around outside his door.

At one point, Henderson dragged Louie into a suite and assaulted him, Mulligan said. "We simply can't leave him alone in a motel filled with people struggling with drug addiction and, when something bad happens, blame him. We need to do more."

Mulligan urged Johnston to consider a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that orders sentencing judges to recognize the oppressive conditions aboriginal offenders grew up with and impose more lenient sentences.

"We can do better for individuals like Mr. Louie, and we should do better," Mulligan said. "We have the collective responsibility for the impact of colonialism on First Nations people."

Crown prosecutor Paula Donnachie asked the judge to impose a prison sentence of four to six years.

Mulligan argued Louie should not be kept in prison much longer. "He should be released on probation with the expectation he will be supervised, supported and guided. It's the only hope for society," Mulligan said.

Prison is a harsh, abnormal and crowded environment where inmates are under a lot of stress. Locking Louie up in prison is another example of wrong thinking, like residential schools, said the defence lawyer.

"Mr. Louie has all these difficulties, none are his fault. Locking him up is a continuation of the negativity, deprivation and harshness of his life. That's what created him in the first place," Mulligan said.

"If you put Mr. Louie in a federal penitentiary for six years, what do you expect him to be when he comes out the other end?"

Louie has been in custody for nine months in a small unit designated for inmates with psychological and mental health problems. He sees an addiction counsellor once a week.

"This is such a good thing. This kind of treatment should be happening in the community," Mulligan said.

Henderson's family have been devastated by their loss, Donnachie said. The family has found it difficult to deal with the argument that led to his death.

Donnachie referred to Louie's pre-sentence report, which shows he lacks insight into the connection between his drinking and his offending. Louie told his supervisor "in the future, he needs to drink with people he can trust."

The report also shows Louie has anger management issues and he can be aggressive and unpredictable. He has shown no remorse and no acceptance of responsibility, Donnachie said.

"Mr. Louie might not have the capacity for some of these things," Mulligan said. "But no amount of isolation or segregation will give him those attributes."

The hearing continues today.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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