Too drunk for murder

A Vancouver Island man has been convicted of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder after a judge found he was too drunk to know what he was doing.

The family of Cindy Scow was left reeling after the controversial ruling was handed down Monday in Campbell River, B.C.

Scow was 28 when her body was found in an abandoned building on a First Nations reserve on Vancouver Island in September 2012. She was taken to hospital where she later died.

She left behind seven children.

Her mother, Blanche Walkus, said the ruling was difficult for everyone to accept.

"This has been a hard day for us all," she told reporters. "The baby is three now. He wasn't even two when she passed away."

The man convicted in Scow's death was 19 when she died.

The judge in the case found that Dakota Johnny was drinking heavily with Scow the day she died.

Throughout the trial, the defence argued that Scow had bitten Johnny on the genitals during consensual sex, before he used a wooden dowel to beat her to death.

Justice Miriam Maisonville found Johnny guilty of manslaughter rather than second-degree murder, because she agreed that he was too intoxicated to know what he was doing.

But Walkus said alcohol shouldn't be blamed or used as a defence.

This isn't the first time extreme intoxication has been used as a defence in a criminal case.

The lawyer for Spencer Kirkwood, a participant in the 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver, argued that his client was too drunk to remember the riots. However, the judge rejected this argument and Kirkwood was convicted of mischief and rioting.


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