A Montreal crown prosecutor has recommended six years in jail for a man convicted in a vigilante-style killing.
Patrick Belanger was convicted of the manslaughter death of 63-year-old Leonard Wells at a Snowdon-area apartment building.
In July 2009, Belanger attacked Wells after he spotted child pornography on the man’s computer.
Belanger became angry and began punching Wells repeatedly.
The victim died in hospital.
Wells was a known sex offender from Ontario.
During a pre-sentencing hearing at the Montreal courthouse Monday afternoon, lawyers debated what sentence the 28-year-old Belanger deserved.
In his arguments, crown attorney Thierry Nadon said a clear message needed to be sent that people should not take justice into their own hands.
On the other side, the defense argued three years behind bars would be enough. In court, lawyer Julien Archambault discussed his client’s alcohol and drug problems, and argued his client was a victim of sexual abuse in his youth.
Therapist Clement Proulx was one of eight people to testify for Belanger.
“This is somebody who has less than one per cent of a chance of recidivism, of committing another crime like that, of committing any crime. He doesn’t have a background of criminal history,” he said.
Eric Schorer is the janitor at the building where the crime took place.
He agreed Belanger deserved a less harsh sentence.
“I don’t think he wanted to kill him. He’s a normal type of person. He needs a break in life. He had a really rough life,” Schorer said.
The crown’s suggestion was in line with a similar recent case.
In 2009, a British Columbia resident received seven years in prison for attacking a suspected pedophile with a baseball bat.
Clifford Frederic Martin struck his victim as he lay sleeping.
The man he killed was accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl.
Justice Louise Boudreau will hand down a sentence on April 21. ..Source.. by Global Montreal
Child-porn discovery not a 'licence to kill': Canadian man who beat his neighbour to death after finding child pornography on his computer will serve six years behind bars
A man who beat his neighbour to death after finding child pornography on his computer should serve six years behind bars, says the Crown.
Patrick Belanger, 28, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the July 2009 beating death of Leonard Wells, 63, in west-end Montreal.
Prosecutor Thierry Nadon told a Quebec Court judge the sentence would send a clear message to society that vigilante killings are unacceptable and that a man's pedophilic tendencies don't give citizens "a licence to kill."
Belanger will be sentenced on April 21.
He was initially charged with first-degree murder following the attack on July 25, 2009. He had been helping Wells to move and had asked to use his computer while the two were taking a break.
He flew into a rage when he stumbled across images of children being sexually assaulted. Belanger called 911 and warned he would take matters into his own hands unless Wells was arrested immediately. He began punching and kicking the man when police failed to arrive after 20 minutes.
Belanger called 911 a second time as Wells lay in a pool of his own blood. The victim was transported to hospital in a coma and died a month later.
Belanger later told the court the child-porn images triggered memories of his own father's tale of childhood sexual abuse. The defendant also said he was drunk at the time of the beating and he had been an alcoholic for several years.
But the Crown said the "horrific" and "revolting" images did not give Belanger an excuse to kill a man.
"We cannot allow people to mete out their own justice," Nadon told the court.
"(Otherwise) we would be promoting anarchy. Incidents such as this one ... do not give him a licence to kill."
The prosecutor said the fact Belanger waited 20 minutes to administer the beating was evidence the killing was premeditated.
Defence lawyer Julien Archambault countered Belanger had no criminal record and has been in alcohol rehab for two years.
He requested a three-year prison term.
Belanger told judge Louise Bourdeau he's a changed man and was "not thinking rationally" at the time of the deadly attack.
"I'll have to pay for what I did," he added. "I have no hard feelings towards the Crown. Justice must be served." ..source..