A Lethbridge, Alta., man who admitted to fatally kicking a woman in the abdomen after she refused to give him alcohol has been handed a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Lucien Maurice Cranechief, 42, was sentenced earlier this week after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the September 2014 death of Cynthia Pearl Badarm.
Court heard the 37-year-old woman was with the accused and some other people at a downtown Lethbridge cafe when Cranechief asked for liquor from one of two bottles she had earlier purchased.
She refused and a verbal spat broke out before Badarm suffered a blow that broke a rib and punctured her spleen
The Lethbridge woman died in hospital from traumatic blood loss.
Refused to take responsibility
Cranechief had entered the guilty plea on what was to be the first day of his trial last September.
Defence lawyer Telmo dos Santos told court at a Jan. 4 sentencing hearing his client refused to take responsibility for Badarm's death and he couldn't get him to explain why.
Dos Santos said he felt Cranechief could no longer instruct him in his defence and argued he no longer believed his client was fit for trial.
He asked the court for another assessment of Cranechief to determine his mental state because he suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and may not understand all court proceedings.
Just over year left on sentence
Court of Queen's Bench Justice D.B. Nixon denied the request, pointing out an assessment of Cranechief completed five days before he pleaded guilty showed he was fit to stand trial.
Dos Santos then asked to withdraw from the case, saying he couldn't ethically represent someone who he believed was not fit to be instructed, but again Nixon denied his request.
The Crown told court Cranechief has an extensive criminal history, which includes 143 convictions, including 27 for violent offences.
Cranechief was given credit for time spent in pre-trial custody, leaving him with just over a year to serve behind bars.