A defence lawyer is arguing that his client, who brutally beat another inmate at a Maple Ridge jail, should be given extra credit for the time he’s already served before sentencing.
Alexander Dinu Tanasescu, 30, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of Blair Thomas Cody. A two-day sentencing hearing concluded Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Within hours of arriving at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre on May 19, 2010 to begin serving a four-month sentence, Cody and Tanasescu clashed in the jail’s weight room.
Cody walked up to Tanasescu, touched him on the shoulder and the two spoke briefly. Tanasescu claims that Cody called him a “goof,” which is a challenge to fight.
Tanasescu punched Cody in the face, then kicked him and punched him in the head multiple times as he lay unconscious on the ground. Tanasescu also jumped on Cody’s face.
Cody, 36, never regained consciousness and died in a Langley hospice more than 10 months later.
Tanasescu was placed in segregation for three months after the incident. In August 2010 he was placed in the enhanced supervision program, which restricts how much time an inmate can spend outside his cell each day.
Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate said that during his 920 days in pretrial custody, Tanasescu would have been entitled to 11,028 hours outside of his cell as part of the general population. Because of the restrictive program he was in, he was denied 5,414 hours of time outside his cell.
Tate said Tanasescu should be credited 1 days for each day he has already served.
Since February 2010, Bill C-25 has limited the amount of credit inmates can receive for pretrial custody to one day for each day served; however, inmates can receive up to 1 days of credit under certain conditions. Previously, inmates commonly received double credit.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Blunt disagreed with the defence’s calculations and argued that the circumstances of Tanasescu’s detention do not warrant enhanced credit.
“There is no evidence before you concerning any hardship faced by Mr. Tanasescu in regard to these conditions my friend says justify enhanced credit,” Blunt told the court.
Tate disagreed with the Crown’s arguments.
“The suggestion that there’s no evidence of hardship to my client is essentially to say the taking away of nearly 5,000 hours of liberty is meaningless,” Tate said. “I take exception to that proposition.”
Justice Robert Crawford is expected to deliver his sentencing decision Friday.
- Jennifer Saltman is with The Province