Judge William Goodridge accepted a joint submission by the Crown and defence of a six-year sentence for Kenny Green in the beating death of Joey Whalen.
In Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's on Friday, Goodridge said the six-year sentence is low, but by the Crown accepting it, a conviction for manslaughter was achieved.
Green, 35, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Whalen, 47 — but that charge was dropped. On May 6 of this year, Green pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Green admitted to pummelling Whalen during a fight that broke out at a house on Tessier Place in St. John's in March 2013, where Green sold drugs. The court was told Whalen had been selling cocaine for Green, and Green suspected Whalen was stealing from him.
Whalen died in hospital a few days later.
Goodridge said the Crown and defence reached a plea bargain, and it was proper for the Crown to accept it, given the uncertainty of getting a conviction for second-degree murder.
The judge told the court why it made sense for the Crown to strike a plea bargain: Among other things, he said there were no witnesses to the actual assault. Goodridge also said that the people in the house on Tessier Place were not credible because of prior criminal records, and two of them were "drugged out."
Could be eligible for full parole in less than 18 months
Goodridge said that Green could have made a case for self-defence.
Green said he feared Whalen was going to take him out, after he saw something shiny in Whalen's waist band. Police found a knife at the scene.
Brittany Hammond, Joey Whalen's daughter, said she understands the reasoning behind the joint submission and sentence, but is not satisfied.
"In my mind it does, but in my heart it will never be enough for me. But logically I know they did the best they could," said Hammond, who spoke to reporters outside Supreme Court.
"We had a meeting with the Crown prosecutor and everybody yesterday, and they explained why it was the way it was. And, I guess we have to deal with it the best we can — no sentencing is going to bring back my father, anyways," she said. "I won't remember him as they portray him, but I'll remember him. He was a great dad ... he loved to go fishing. He was a kind-hearted guy."
Green was given about 19 months credit for time served. He could be eligible for full parole in less than a year and a half.