Father forgives man who killed his homeless son with one punch

Article content

The father of a homeless Calgary man slain with a single punch said Wednesday he forgives his son’s killer.

Buddy Currie said he misses his late son, Barry, “tremendously,” but doesn’t want his death to haunt the man who took his life, Dwayne Bearspaw.

“Dwayne, today I choose to forgive you for your part in Barry’s death,” the elder Currie told Bearspaw’s sentencing hearing.

“I hope someday you’ll find peace.”

Bearspaw, 29, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 1, 2020, death of Barry Currie.

The two men got into a verbal confrontation the evening of Dec. 31, 2019, outside Alpha House, where they were both residing, and Bearspaw punched Currie, 30, once in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Currie’s head struck the ground hard, causing blunt head trauma.

Crown prosecutor Ryan Jenkins told Justice David Labrenz that although Currie immediately began showing signs of being badly injured, he declined medical intervention. Staff at Alpha House found him on his mat at the transitional residence the following morning not breathing.

Article content

In accepting a joint submission for a two-year sentence followed by three years of probation presented by Jenkins and defence lawyer Shaun Leochko, Labrenz noted how quickly violence can turn deadly.

“We tend to think as a society there is no harm in a little dust-up,” Labrenz said.

“But it’s amazing how many times one punch, one single punch, costs a life.”

The Court of Queen’s Bench judge noted manslaughter can range from a near-accident to a near-murder and he had to consider Bearspaw’s moral culpability.

“It’s not at the accident stage, but it’s far closer to that than near-murder,” he said.

“Any degree of violence runs the risk of very serious consequences.”

Because Bearspaw has spent more than a year in remand, he’ll have 120 days left to serve in custody.

One of the conditions of his probation is that he serve 120 hours of community service.

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

View Source