She took part in one of the most horrifying beatings this city has ever seen, a case described as torture.
Because of that, a 15-year-old may receive almost $200,000 worth of intense counselling, tutoring, recreation and family therapy over the next two years at the expense of federal taxpayers.
The teen, one of three girls who beat, kicked and burned Kathie Lee Bennet behind a Dartmouth school Sept. 20, 2007, began her sentencing hearing yesterday. The Crown wants her to get an adult sentence, which would make her ineligible for the federal money.
But defence lawyer Megan Longley argued yesterday the special program, which offers $275 a day for counselling and is available only if she’s sentenced as a youth, is the teen’s best chance at getting away from a life of crime.
“Without a doubt, what happened in this case was a horrific and tragic event, I don’t mean to belittle that,” Longley told Judge Pam Williams.
“That’s in excess of $200,000 that the federal government is prepared to invest in this young person. If you have that kind of a shot you can take on a young person, it should be taken.”
Crown attorney John Nisbet pointed out the teen’s pre-sentence reports haven’t been positive, and there’s no guarantee spending all that money would turn her life around. He wants her to get a three- or four-year adult sentence.
“We’ll get that 15-year-old’s brain to a point where it’s three or four years older and less likely to commit crime,” Nisbet said.
Longley said that would mean the teen would be out of jail sooner than if she were given a youth sentence, because of the 11 months’ credit she could get for time served on remand.
Williams will give her decision May 20.