Nova Scotia

Bully sentence appropriate, Halifax prosecutor says

A Halifax prosecutor is on the defence, saying he's happy with the one-year sentence a 16-year-old received for bullying another teen who later committed suicide.

A Halifax prosecutor is on the defence, saying he's happy with the one-year sentence a 16-year-old received for bullying another teen who later committed suicide.

The 16-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to a year in youth jail and one year probation, in addition to the five months she's already been in custody.

The girl, who cannot be identified, pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, assault, uttering threats and robbery in cases involving two teens. Emmet Fralick was one of them.

Fralick, 14, killed himself last April at his Halifax home. He left a note saying he was being tormented at his school, St. Agnes junior high.

Fralick's mother, Lois, is calling the sentence a slap on the wrist.

"I don't think the sentence fits what she had done to him," she says. "I wouldn't be satisfied with anything she was given."

But Crown prosecutor Gary Holt says the sentence is appropriate.

"I'm very happy with the situation," he says. "I know there's been comment about a slap on the wrist but I don't look at it that way given the limitations of the [Young Offenders Act] and the sentencing options that were available to the court."

Holt says the maximum sentence the girl could have received was three years, including the probation period, for all the charges.

The Crown and defence jointly recommended the one-year sentence.

The head of the Halifax regional school board, Michael Flemming, says bullying has to stop.

"When you look at bullying and violence in school, if there's one place that kids should feel safe it's in school," he says.

The Emmet Fralick case isn't the only one of its kind in Canada.

Last March a judge in British Columbia found a teen guilty of harrassment and uttering threats after Dawn Marie Wesley committed suicide. She left a note saying girls at school had bullied her.