Justice for Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation’s Barbara Kentner has been delayed a sixth time, as Brayden Bushby’s official sentencing has been pushed back to June 7. He’s facing life imprisonment.
The 21-year-old of Thunder Bay, who is currently not in custody, was found guilty of manslaughter in December of 2020 after Kentner’s death in 2017. While walking through a residential neighbourhood with her sister in Thunder Bay, Bushby was alleged to have thrown a metal trailer hitch at Kentner’s abdomen.
She suffered a perforated bowel as a result of the attack and required an emergency operation the following day. She died five months later in July of 2017. A post-mortem examination completed three days after Kentner passed away showed her death was caused by complications arising from the injury.
Justice Helen M. Pierce delivered her verdict on December 14 after a four-day trial, saying the Crown proved the defendant knew he would seriously injure Kentner when he threw the metal hitch. Bushby was found guilty on a charge of manslaughter, remanded, and then later released on bail conditions.
Bushby’s sentencing was originally expected by February 9, 2021. It was pushed back to February 17 as courts transitioned back to in-person operations, after previous court date delays due to a courthouse fire and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, 2020.
When February 17’s date fell through, sentencing was then pushed to May 4 after Ontario’s Chief Justice, Geoffrey Morawetz, issued a directive asking courts to defer as many matters as possible to May 7.
Now, due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Thunder Bay and to allow family members to attend in-person, Bushby’s sentencing is expected to begin at 10 a.m. on June 7. Overall, this is the sixth delay in the case.
Manslaughter does not carry an automatic sentence for life imprisonment, but it remains an option for the court. If life imprisonment is given, Bushby would be eligible for parole after 7 years, which could be delayed to 10 years.
During Bushby’s sentencing hearing in February, Crown lawyers called for an 8 to 12-year sentence, while Bushby’s legal team argued for a 4-year sentence.
Bushby was initially charged with aggravated assault and released on bail in November of 2017. But following a review of the case by the Crown, Regional Coroner’s Office and the Thunder Bay Police Service, he was charged with second-degree murder.
He plead not guilty in September of 2019 to the murder charge. However, the Crown downgraded the murder charges down to manslaughter about one year later.