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Justice system fails: Eves family

Parents of slain student appalled by manslaughter charge

The family of slain Squamish student Sam Eves says B.C.'s justice system is appalling because Crown Counsel has forgotten to help the victim.

In March 2007, Colin Eves' son was stabbed to death at a house party. After an intense RCMP manhunt, 19-year-old Ander Walker-Huria gave himself up to police.

The teen was originally charged with second-degree murder but will be sentenced for manslaughter in May. Eves said Crown Counsel is seeking five years but Walker-Huria won't serve anywhere near that.

Eves said the Crown advised the family by email that due to the current practices of granting "two-for-one" credit for time spent in pre-sentencing custody, the killer will most likely be released within months of his sentencing date.

"As parents, we are appalled by the prospect that this convicted killer will be back on the street after serving little over two years in jail," Eves said. "The next step is for us to continue to bring public scrutiny to the failure of the state to protect law abiding people."

In response, Eves launched an email campaign urging concerned citizens to write everyone from the local Member of Parliament to the Attorney General.

Eves won't give a victim impact statement at the upcoming sentencing hearing. He said it's not worth it because the justice system has already failed them.

Meanwhile, the Crime Victim Assistance Program dealt another blow to the Eves family - cutting the family's benefits after stating the teen was partly responsible for his own death.

"To say a 16-year-old kid is somehow to blame for his own murder is disgusting. I didn't feel strongly about the compensation, but I was outraged by the failure of the state to act on Sam's behalf," Eves said.

The Eves family asked B.C.'s Crime Victim Assistance Program for the maximum allowed - $5,000 for the funeral and a week's pay at minimum wage. Eves said the family put every cent into the SAM project, a charity set up after their son's death to help rural South African towns.

"Would they say a rape victim is equally responsible for the rape and gets only half because she flirted with her attacker?" Eves said.

Cindy Rose, Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General Public Affairs officer, defended the decision to cut benefits. She said decisions on benefits are made by professional victim services workers and may not be available in circumstances involving dangerous or criminal activity.

"Our condolences go out to the family involved in this tragic incident," Rose said. "The decision to reduce or deny benefits is never arrived at lightly by the program. Those decisions are made based on information and evidence provided from a number of sources, including the outcome of police investigations."

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