CALGARY — The panhandler who delivered a fatal punch to a man who refused to give him 50 cents back in July has been handed a three-year jail sentence for manslaughter.
Donald Foran, 58, was walking down the street with his hands full of groceries when Christopher Guthrie asked him for change.
Foran refused, an argument ensued, and Guthrie then punched him in the face, knocking him to the concrete. Foran died from brain hemorrhaging in hospital nine days later.
Foran’s brother Bruce called the sentence “ludicrous,” saying it should have been in the 10-year range.
“A hundred years isn’t going to make any difference,” Foran said after provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser accepted a joint Crown and defence recommendation.
“It’s ludicrous, it’s a farce . . . what can I say?”
Bruce Foran said it was sad his hard-working brother lost his life to a panhandler.
“Here’s a guy . . . that worked very hard for everything he got,” he said.
“There’s no shortage of work, get out there and earn your 50 cents, don’t come begging from me.”
Both Crown prosecutor Rob Bassett and defence counsel David Chow proposed a three-year sentence for Guthrie because he didn’t intend to cause the victim serious harm.
“This began with one punch — a simple assault,” Bassett said.
“It would be a very different case had Mr. Foran not fallen and had that cerebral hemorrhage.”
In handing down his sentence, which includes an order Guthrie serve at least half his term before he can be paroled, Fraser called the offender a common thug.
“In a word, he is … a bully,” the judge said.
Before sentencing, Fraser heard victim impact statement from friends and family, including widow Betty Foran, and a teary apology from Guthrie.