A man convicted of second-degree murder in a 2005 beating death of an Ottawa man has been released on bail pending his appeal.

Charlie Manasseri, 51, was found guilty in the murder of Brian Fudge in June 2012, which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

The charge stems from an altercation at the former Le Skratch Bar and Grill on Merivale Road in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2005. 


George Kenny, left, and Charlie Manasseri, right, were found guilty in February 2012 for their roles in the death of Brian Fudge. (Sketch by Laurie Foster-MacLeod)

Manasseri was found to have slammed Fudge's head against the bar "10 to 20 times."

The jury also found George Kenny, 27, guilty on two counts of assault causing bodily harm — one for beating Fudge, who was also celebrating his 22nd birthday that night, and another for beating Fudge's friend. 

Kenny has also been released on bail pending appeal.

This week, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice J.A. Watt considered new evidence from Manasseri's lawyer, Phil Campbell, which suggested Fudge suffered from a post-concussion syndrome caused by alcohol intake.

"A combination of mid-level trauma or violence and high levels of alcohol lead to death in otherwise healthy people," Campbell explained.

Victim's family feels 'tortured'

Watt's 25-page decision stated Manasseri posed no danger to the public. He was released from the Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont., on Tuesday on $125,000 bond. He must surrender his passport and is not allowed to leave Ontario.

Brian Fudge (Oct. 31, 2013)

Brian Fudge, 22, was killed while celebrating his 22nd birthday at Le Skratch Bar and Grill on New Year's Eve 2005. (Photo courtesy of Fudge family)

Manasseri is "happy and satisfied, but mostly relieved" about his release, Campbell said.

Derek Fudge, Brian's father, said the appeal opens old wounds the family only recently closed.

"We put that chapter behind us, but it's open again," Fudge said of losing his eldest son.

"Now on this flimsy theory he's out walking the streets of Ottawa while our family is continued to be tortured."