In what the judge called one of the toughest decisions he’s ever made, the Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard in June 2019, has avoided jail time.
Judge Gregory Korturbash sentenced the woman, who can’t be named due to her being a minor at the time of the offence, to spend 24 months in an Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) program. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April.
“Over the past month, I have agonized over what the appropriate sentence should be. As a parent, the thought of losing a child to such a senseless act is unimaginable,” Kortubash said while rendering his decision on Monday, July 12.
“We have already lost one young person and we — meaning all of us — need to do what we can not to lose another.”
Under the IRCS program, the woman is subject to a number of conditions, including a six-month period in which she’s not allowed to leave her home without permission from her youth worker. If she doesn’t abide by the conditions of the program, she could be arrested and made to spend the entire sentence behind bars.
“When we don’t provide those resources, kids fall through the cracks. That’s what happened here… She tried to access resources many times and often they weren’t available or not available until something like this happens, “ said the woman’s defence lawyer Joe Killoran.
“If something like and IRCS was available for one, or both or many of the kids on the streets, a lot of tragedies could be prevented.”
Through Korturbash’s decision, the court heard both youths were living on the street in Kelowna when the young woman stabbed 16-year-old Beauregard twice in the arm, lacerating an artery and eventually causing his death, on June 29, 2019.
The woman struggled with a number of mental health illnesses, including borderline personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as substance and alcohol abuse. She was intoxicated at the time of the attack.
“Unlike most other teenagers, you were not well equipped to deal with or control your anger impulses that day. You’ve made very significant efforts to turn your life around,” Kortubash said, directly addressing the woman.
Since 2019, she has completed a substance use treatment program and is living on her own in another B.C. city.
Explaining the gravity of his decision, Korturbash left the young woman with some parting words.
“Don’t let me down, ma’am. Don’t let Elijah down, don’t let his parents down. There’s a lot on your shoulders… You need to do your best, okay?”
As proceedings ended, Judge Gregory Koturbash addressed the woman directly: "Dont let me down, ma'am. Don't let Elijah down, don't let his parents down. There's a lot on your shoulders… You need to do your best, okay?"
— Michael Rodriguez (@MichaelRdrguez) July 12, 2021