Crime and the NHL draft, the aftermath Part II
The defendant, his attorneys and his family are certainly breathing a sigh of relief that the teenager convicted on manslaughter charges for killing a rugby opponent will not see a day in jail. Very likely, so are the New York Islanders.
The now 18-year-old defendant, 16 at the time of crime, got sentenced in Ontario to one year’s probation, 100 hours of community service and anger management counseling for the 2007 incident, in which he picked up Manny Castillo, 15, and slammed him on his head, pinching his spinal cord. Castillo died at a hospital a few days later. The sentence was what the attorney for the defense (or in Canada, the defence) had requested. From CTV:
The judge determined [the defendant] “did not set out to commit a crime” but that his actions were the result of his “highly competitive instincts.”
“The tragic consequences went far beyond what could have been expected,” he said.
“In some cases, accountability is largely achieved by guilt and this is one of those cases,” he added. “I held him accountable when I found him guilty of manslaughter. It recognizes the harm done.”
Castillo’s family, in their victim’s statement, detailed how their lives have gone downhill since Manny’s death. His father said his wife and younger son cry themselves through sleepless nights, and that they can no longer celebrate special events. The only light is that five people have survived thanks to Manny’s organs.
Manuel Castillo did not comment on the sentence. But the Mexican immigrant took aim at Canada’s national sport outside the courtroom. He blamed hockey’s culture of fighting after the whistle for giving the defendant, an Ontario Hockey League major junior player, the idea that going after his son was OK. From the Toronto Star:
“This was not a hockey or rugby incident,” [Manuel Castillo] said outside of the courthouse. “It’s about some hockey coaches who don’t know how to teach kids.”
The defendant has never been identified, per Canada’s juvenile justice laws. But as I mentioned in previous posts about this case, it’s very easy to find the player’s name (and that the Islanders drafted him). Perhaps the judge is right that two or three years in custody, which the prosecution sought, would not do anyone any good. But prepare to barf in a few years if this player makes it to the NHL, and a gauzy story about him overcoming hardships airs during one of his games.