Thunder Bay

Kentner family pleased with Brayden Bushby manslaughter verdict

The sisters of Barbara Kentner know a guilty verdict won't bring their sister back, but they hope the verdict delivered on Monday is a step in the right direction when it comes to Indigneous people and the justice system.
Connie, Cheryl and Melissa Kentner all listened to the verdict delivered at the Brayden Bushby manslaughter trial. Bushby was found guilty, after Barbara Kentner was killed after being struck by a trailer hitch, thrown by Bushby in January 2017. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The sisters of Barbara Kentner know a guilty verdict won't bring their sister back, but they hope the verdict delivered on Monday is a step in the right direction when it comes to Indigenous people and the justice system.

Brayden Bushby, was found guilty of manslaughter, after he threw a trailer hitch at Barbara Kentner in January 2017. Kentner died five months later.

The injuries sustained by Kentner in the trailer hitch incident were a contributing factor in her death, Justice Helen Pierce said in her ruling.

"Overall, it's a good outcome," said Connie Kentner.

"It's what we wanted you know, in general. Would have been better if it was murder, first-degree, or something, second-degree," she added.

Melissa Kentner said while she was pleased with the verdict, she was frustrated that Bushby will remain on bail until a sentencing hearing on February 9, 2021. She said it wasn't fair that he would be able to spend the holidays with his family, while the Kentner family would still be missing one member.

Melissa Kentner said part of the issue in the case was Bushby is white, and she felt that if Barbara was killed by an Indigenous person, they would already be "on the bus" to jail "in shackles."

Defence lawyer Ryan Green (l) and George Joseph speak to the media after a verdict was delivered in the Brayden Bushby manslaughter trial. (Marc Doucette/CBC)

A pre-sentence report is still needed, said George Joseph, the lawyer representing Bushby. 

"Right now, the only thing everybody knows about Brayden Bushby is that he threw a trailer hitch at Barbara Kentner. The sentencing judge will need something more comprehensive to be able to sentence him."

As for the fact that Bushby was not in jail, but out on bail, Joseph said his client is living under strict conditions, and will have to accept what sentence he is given, in time.

"I don't see why it would be unfair. The judge has to impose a sentence. It's not like he's going to escape a sentence in any fashion."

"It may not be as swift as some people like, but this case hasn't been as swift as some people would like." 

A sentencing hearing is slated for February 9, which will include victim impact statements from the Kentner family. Submissions from the Crown and defence, along with the impact statements will take much of the day.

The actual sentencing of Bushby, will take place at a later date.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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