A jury took a mandatory life sentence off the table when they ruled Robert Prince didn’t deliberately stab a man to death.
Now the convicted Winnipeg killer is asking a judge to give him an early shot at freedom, arguing he should only be sentenced to three more years in prison in addition to time already served.
Prince, 46, was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year. A jury found him not guilty of the more serious charge of second-degree murder.
He returned to court Tuesday for sentencing, where defence lawyer Ryan Amy requested a total five-year sentence on paper, less time already served. The Crown is seeking another seven years behind bars in addition to pre-trial custody.
Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Dewar has reserved his decision until Jan. 9.
Darryl John Sinclair, 45, suffered fatal injuries during the January 2011 incident. Prince didn’t deny killing Sinclair by slashing his throat. But he argued the attack was a tragic accident, a position the jury clearly accepted in finding him guilty of the reduced charge.
Jurors heard that trouble began when Sinclair and his girlfriend joined Prince for a night of drinking inside a Manitoba Housing apartment highrise at 269 Dufferin Ave., where all three lived. Sinclair wanted to leave the gathering at Prince’s suite, but his girlfriend did not, court was told. Sinclair then struck the woman in the face before fleeing. That’s when Prince grabbed a knife, followed Sinclair into the hallway and attacked him with the single stab wound.
"He acted on the sudden, before his passions had cooled," Amy told jurors in his closing arguments. "If he meant to kill, why did he allow (the victim) to walk away? Why didn’t he, pardon the crassness, finish the job?"
Police found Sinclair collapsed in a pool of blood in a stairwell after one of the other tenants in the building called police.