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One-punch killer hears from family as he awaits sentence

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Judge’s mulls sentence of less than two years plus probation or a term in a federal prison.

Lawrence Alvin Sharpe and Oldouz Pournouruz outside court. Sharpe was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year, while Oldouz Pournouruz was acquitted. NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

The parents of Michael Page-Vincelli told B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday about the extensive fallout their family has suffered since a single punch delivered by Lawrence Sharpe led to their son’s death.

They were in court for a sentencing hearing for Sharpe, who was found guilty of manslaughter for the death, which followed a dispute between Sharpe’s girlfriend and the victim.

The Crown is seeking two to three years in prison for the death, which Sharpe’s lawyer said was “not unreasonable.” But the defence wants a shorter sentence that would land Sharpe in a provincial institution.

Sharpe arrived early and sat silently on the 6th floor of the courthouse as he awaited its start time. He wore a dark coloured suit jacket and dark sunglasses and had his hair pulled back into a tight bun. When asked if he would like to comment on the case, he politely declined.

Inside the courtroom, Sharpe sat in a three-sided glass box. He was still and silent as he waited for Justice Mary Humphries judge to enter the room.

The hearing started with Crown counsel Colleen Smith calling for a term in a federal prison and a firearms ban for the punch that caused Page-Vincelli to collapse as though he “had fallen from the sky.” She also asked for an order that Sharpe not contact the victim’s family .

The victim’s mother, Steffany Page, read two statements — one that she had written, and another that was written by her husband, Michael.

She recalled the day the couple received a call that their son was in the hospital. They were told he had a head injury, and from that point, “time stood still,” she said. Page said she fell to her knees when she was brought to her son’s motionless body.

Page said since then she was been depressed, stressed and just trying to be a good mom to her surviving son.

“I once was a strong woman who could handle anything,” she said. “My mental health and well-being is not what it used to be.”

Through Page’s statement Sharpe looked at the floor.

Page read her husband’s statement.

“I’m having a hard time coping day-to-day,” he wrote. He said he has felt angry and defensive since his son’s death and is now having horrible thoughts.

“I am mad at the world as I have lost my son,” he wrote. He said he has been stressed mentally and physically. “My body aches of a broken heart.”

Sharpe’s lawyer said his client had asked if he could make an apology, but given the wishes of the victim’s family not to be spoken to, he advised him not to do so.

Instead, Sharpe addressed the judge. “I feel nothing but remorse.”

Sharpe described the damaging effects the death has had on his own life, work and relationship. “I go to bed and wake up broken again,” he said. “I’ve been stripped to the bone. The only thing tough about me is my heart.”

Humphries said her sentencing decision really came down to a provincial sentence plus probation versus a federal sentence. She reserved her decision until Friday.

Outside the court, Page said she did not accept Sharpe’s apology, and she was critical of the length of time he may spend in prison. “I will never have justice for my son.”

A jury acquitted Sharpe’s girlfriend, Oldouz Pournouruz, of manslaughter in the July 2017 death.

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