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Youth gets two years probation for shooting brother to death

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A Dorval youth who was 12 when he shot his older brother to death at the family home in January 2013 has been sentenced to two years probation.

In handing down his sentence, Quebec Youth Court Judge Guy Lecompte sided with the defence and rejected the crown's proposal for 18 months more detention involving open custody in a youth detention center. The maximum sentence was three years in closed custody.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, had pleaded guilty last fall to criminal negligence causing death. A charge of manslaughter was dropped. The boy had also pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery and theft that occurred about three weeks before the incident.

The boy shot his 16-year-old brother on January 21, 2013 with his grandfather's gun.

The judge, calling it a unique case, took into account that the boy had already spent 11 months in preventive custody. The youth has been out on bail since December in the care of a relative.

The judge praised the guardian for her efforts in supervising the boy, calling it "very impressive" and saying she was shouldering the responsibility "very conscientiously."

The relative was present in the courtroom during sentencing, along with the boy's parents and grandmother who have attended all the hearings. None expressed any immediate or visible emotion when the sentence was handed down.

During the probation, the boy must continue to live with his relative, observe a curfew, continue therapy, refrain from communicating with several friends, is not allowed to have a cellphone and is not allowed to access a computer or internet except for school.

At the time of the bail ruling last year, the boy was described as having dual personalities by being well-behaved with family and then acting up with friends including smoking pot and drinking. The judge agreed with the crown who said that the boy was not ready to return home because his mother was too emotionally attached to supervise him objectively.

"The objective and the goal always is rehabilitation of a youth. It's mainly to assure protection of the public in the long term," Crown Prosecutor Marie-Claude Bourassa told reporters.

"Will this decision assure that? I don't think this decision or any decision that could be given today can assure that. The youth is still of young age, he just turned 14, so only time will tell."

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