Gregory Brotherston’s violent past demands that he spend more than four years in prison for the death of a 57-year-old Colwood man, the Crown argued Monday at a sentencing hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.
Last month, Brotherston, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Oct. 14 death of Richard Green. Green was injured after he intervened in a fight between Brotherston and his ex-girlfriend Kelly Sousa outside the Country Rose pub on Oct. 8. Brotherston slapped Green, who fell and struck his head.
Defence lawyer Richard Neary called for a sentence of one to two years less a day, noting Brotherston’s early guilty plea and his immediate remorse.
During the long, emotional hearing, Green’s son, Kevin, sat in the front row of the public gallery, surrounded by friends and staff from the pub. Calling his father a hero, Kevin told the court he lost the two most valuable things in his life: “my father and my time with him.”
“I wanted to get to know all his famous jokes by heart, but that will never happen,” he said.
Former Highlands councillors Ken and Marie Brotherston sat with family and friends on the other side of the crowded courtroom.
Prosecutor Laureen Nowlan-Card told Justice Ronald McKinnon that Brotherston’s violent history means he should be sentenced more severely.
“This was gratuitous violence,” she said.
“Mr. Brotherston could have walked away.”
According to court admissions accepted as being true, Green died of a head injury after Brotherston assaulted him with a single open-handed blow to his face, cheek and ear. Green was either knocked unconscious or was stunned by the blow. He was unable to catch himself and fell backward, striking his head on pavement and fracturing his skull.
Also according to the admissions, Brotherston had an on-again, off-again relationship with Sousa. That evening Brotherston had texted her and she agreed to meet him at the pub. When she arrived, they argued and Sousa slapped Brotherston across the face, breaking a glass on the table. She stood up and walked out of the pub, followed by Brotherston.
Green saw the fight and watched them leave. He turned to his friend Denis Desjardins and said: “This isn’t good. Let’s go out for a cigarette.”
According to the admissions, Sousa and Brotherston were yelling at each other in the parking lot. He was leaning into her, while she slapped him repeatedly in the face. Brotherston leaned into her again and she punched him repeatedly in the face.
At no point did Brotherston push or strike her, the admissions say. Brotherston grabbed her by the sweater, preventing her from walking away. Sousa lost her footing and fell to the ground. When she tried to walk away, Brotherston grabbed her by the sweater again.
Green saw Sousa on the ground. As he walked into the parking lot, he saw Brotherston holding onto her sweater.
According to the admissions, Brotherston was telling her he was going to call the police and charge her with assault. He called out to the two men to act as witnesses, but Green responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. All I saw was her on the ground.”
Green told Brotherston to get in his car and leave. Brotherston said he just wanted to talk to her.
Green motioned to Sousa to walk toward him. She did, but Brotherston, who was becoming angry and aggressive, followed. Brotherston walked up to Green, with his hands open and screamed: “This has nothing to do with you!”
Brotherston took a couple of big strides toward Green, then screamed “Stay out of this!” as he struck Green with a single, openhanded blow. Green fell backward and hit his head.
Brotherston dropped to the ground beside Green, saying: “Oh my God, I’m sorry sir. Please be OK.”
The hearing continues today.
© Copyright 2013