One day jail time for man sentenced in Thornhill manslaughter

Brandon Davey, 23, was sentenced May 9 to one day in prison for the 2009 killing of Richard Woodrow, 46, in Thornhill.

  • May. 10, 2012 11:00 a.m.

A MAN who pleaded guilty to manslaughter here was released from jail the day he was sentenced.

Brandon Davey, 23, was sentenced May 9 to one day in prison for the 2009 killing of Richard Woodrow, 46, in Thornhill.

Davey had been in custody for two and a half years already awaiting trial.

And since the crime occurred under a policy that permitted a person to deduct two days off a prison sentence for every day spent in pre-trial custody, Davey was eligible for immediate release.

At Davey’s sentencing hearing, Mr. Justice Selwyn Romilly of the BC Supreme Court said unlike the appeal court, he couldn’t give a sentence that amounts to time already served.

He then ordered Davey to spend one more day in jail before being released; however, his time in court would count as that one day.

So after court paperwork was completed, he was released.

Davey was arrested after a Nov. 17, 2009 Thornhill incident in which Woodrow was beaten with a hammer. He later died in a Vancouver hospital.

Davey had been undergoing a trial for second degree murder that was in its third week when he decided to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

In pronouncing sentence, Mr. Justice Romilly reviewed the circumstances of Woodrow’s death.

“I’m satisfied and I find as fact the accused was provoked because of a vicious assault on someone the accused considered [a friend],” said Mister Justice Romilly.

“I’m satisfied and I find as fact that Mr. Woodrow first introduced the hammer into the equation by going after the accused…Mr. Woodrow was a very big man, twice the size at least of the 21-year-old (Davey).

“I’m satisfied that Mr. Woodrow was the obvious aggressor.”

When asked if he had anything to say before sentencing, Davey read from what he’d prepared.

“I apologize to everyone involved in this incident,” said Davey.

“It should not have happened the way it did…I apologize to all the family members of Richard’s and my own. It should never have happened. I’m here today ready to be sentenced and take full responsibility.”

While reviewing the facts before sentencing, Mr. Justice Romilly noted that on the day of the incident, two women at a Thornhill residence were drinking heavily and when Woodrow came over, he was also intoxicated.

Davey was sober, said Mr. Justice Romilly.

Woodrow had pushed one of the women after she had knocked over, and broken, a shelf Woodrow had built. Then Davey intervened.

Mister Justice Romilly noted that during the altercation that took place, at one point, Woodrow produced a hammer and that Davey took the hammer away from Woodrow.

It was found that Davey hit Woodrow several times with the hammer and used more force than necessary because there were several fractures on Woodrow, including a punctured lung, which was a factor that led to Woodrow’s death.

Woodrow’s blood wasn’t able to clot because of advanced cirrhosis of the liver, noted Mr. Justice Romilly.

Although it wasn’t discovered until later, this also contributed to his death, he continued.

On Nov. 17, 2009, at about 4:15 p.m., Terrace RCMP were called to Thornhill for a seriously injured male, who had been assaulted and had been reported to be covered in blood and screaming, reported police at that time.

He was transported to Mills Memorial Hospital and later medevaced to Vancouver where he died of his injuries, said police.

Police arrested a suspect and said at the time it was not a random act as both the suspect and victim knew each other.

The two days credit for time served before sentencing policy has been eliminated since Davey was arrested. Individuals now receive one day credit for every day in jail before sentencing.

In the past, people were usually held in remand centres before trials and didn’t have the same access to rehabilitation and other programs as they would if found guilty and subsequently sentenced to jail, where such services are available.

However, in recent years, people are held in jail while they await trial so they do have access to the services.

The two days credit was viewed as a way to acknowledge pre-trial remand centre conditions.