Polson Park killer sentenced

A 30-year-old Vernon man with an extensive criminal record has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Jason Hardy in Polson Park on Aug. 26, 2015.

With time already served, Tal Kalum La Riviere, 30, has just under two years left in jail.

Both victim and perpetrator were “lost in the world of drug addiction” at the time of Hardy's death, said provincial court Judge Mayland McKimm.

During the sentencing hearing Monday, court was told how the two men purchased drugs after taking funds from the victim's account and, along with two teenaged males, went to the skate park at Polson Park. There, a dispute erupted over who had Hardy's bank card.

While Hardy is said to have been the first to lash out, trying to kick La Riviere, the other man then hit back with force with Hardy finally falling to the ground, according to Crown counsel William Hilderman.

La Riviere and the two other unnamed males continued to kick Hardy while he was down, he said.

“There were probably ten to 12 blows to the head, ranging from moderate to severe,” said Hilderman. He said Hardy also suffered a broken clavicle and road rash.

Other health issues were likely "contributory factors" in his death, Hilderman added.  

La Riviere, who already had three assaults on his record, believed Hardy was alive when they left him lying on the ground but he admitted to “legal causation,” said defence lawyer Robert Claus.

“There was no intention to kill,” Claus explained.

Hardy's father, John, stood beside his wife, Connie Allard, who wept as she read out a victim impact statement describing the dead man as a kind and caring person with a soft spot for the underdog and who battled with drugs and alcohol after the death of his mother when he was 14.

“The way he died was so devastating to us,” Allard said.

La Riviere, who was originally charged with second degree murder, is also subject to a mandatory DNA order and a life-time firearms ban.

Two other males were also originally charged with murder but the charges were stayed.

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