Saskatchewan

Defence seeks youth rehab sentence for offender involved in brutal killing of Simon Grant

Cora Laich says she’s been reasonable as she’s watched the justice system decide the fate of two people who admitted to killing her husband Simon Grant in a brutal beating at his La Ronge restaurant in 2017.

La Ronge, Sask., restaurant owner killed in violent attack in 2017

Simon Grant died after an armed robbery at his restaurant in La Ronge on April 15, 2017. (Facebook)

Cora Laich says she's been reasonable as she's watched the justice system decide the fate of two people who admitted to killing her husband Simon Grant in a brutal beating at his La Ronge, Sask. restaurant in 2017.

But she said discussion about "rehabilitation" for the third person involved, who Laich and Grant took into their home and cared for, has been harder to swallow.

"I lost my husband and when is justice going to be done for people that lose their loved ones?" said Laich.

"Kids are just walking away from it and they're doing rehabilitation, rehabilitation. Well, that's what my husband and I did."

The youth was 17 at the time of the attack, in which Grant was beaten with a baseball bat and left dying on the floor of Louisiana's Bar-B-Que in April, 2017.  

Laich said she considers this individual to be the "main planner" of the robbery, something the Crown said was admitted to in the agreed statement of facts.

His identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A sentencing hearing to decide if he will be sentenced as a youth or an adult was held this week in La Ronge, which is about 340 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. The hearing will continue in Saskatoon on May 8.

The defence is calling for a youth sentence through the Intensive Rehabilitation Custody and Supervision (IRCS) program.

Defence seeks youth sentence

Defence lawyer Jessie Buydens said IRCS provides mental health support that isn't available through a typical youth sentence or an adult sentence.  

"It goes a long way to address the root causes that led to the criminal behavior in the first place," said Buydens.

"And if you can address those root causes, the offender's more likely to be rehabilitated, which means they're less likely to reoffend at all, or specifically in a violent manner."

Crown prosecutor Ruth Fafard wants an adult sentence, saying the maximum youth sentence for manslaughter would be inappropriate.

Two other offenders have already been sentenced for their role in Grant's violent death.

'Huge threat to public safety': Widow

One, aged 18, got a seven-year jail sentence. The other, a 14-year-old, was ordered to spend three years in the IRCS program.

Laich said she believes the boy her husband once invited into his home will be a "huge threat to public safety" when he is released, regardless of rehabilitation efforts.

"That's what Simon and I tried to do," said Laich. "We gave him the love, we gave him care."