Inmate wants extra credit for time served

Sentencing on Friday for Alex Tanasescu who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for attack that killed Blair Thomas Cody.

Langley school trustee Stacey Cody with a picture of her brother Blair

A man who viciously beat another inmate in a Maple Ridge prison is seeking to reduce his sentence by arguing he should get extra credit for time already spent in custody.

Charged with second-degree murder, Alexander Dinu Tanasescu, 30, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the brutal attack that eventually killed Blair Thomas Cody.

Crown and defence have agreed to a nine-year prison term, but disagree on how much credit Tanasescu should get for time spent in pre-sentence custody.

Cody was attacked on May 19, 2010, a few hours after he arrived at the 256th Street provincial prison for breaching probation on a drug possession charge.

The court heard the fight was sparked after Cody called Tanasescu a “goof.”

According to an internal investigation report, Tanasescu was captured on video landing a punch that knocked Cody to the floor.

Tanasescu then “stomped, kicked and punched” his head. He was seen leaving twice only to return seconds later and continue the assault, landing blows to Cody’s head 25 times.

A minute after the assault began, guards found the 36-year-old Cody unconscious in a pool of blood. He could barely breathe, according to the report.

Paramedics were called and Cody was rushed via air ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital.

He was eventually transferred to the Langley Hospice, where he remained in a vegetative state until he died 10 months later.

At a sentencing hearing in New Westminster Supreme Court Wednesday, the court heard Tanasescu was anything but a model prisoner.

A corrections officer testified that Tanasescu was often aggressive, hostile to staff and threatened other inmates.

He has two outstanding disciplinary charges and has spent the majority of his time in prison in a segregation unit or under enhanced supervision, which restricts the amount of time an inmate is out of his cell.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Blunt pointed out that it was Tanasescu’s own actions that led to his segregation.

He argued Tanasescu should not receive a credit of 1.5 days for each day he has spent in custody, given the changes to Canada’s Criminal Code brought about by Bill C-25.

The Act, introduced in 2010, limits the credit a judge can hand out for any time spent in pre-sentencing custody. Previously, most convicted received a 2-1 credit.

“There is an absence of any evidence that the restrictions caused him any greater hardship compared to any other inmate,” Blunt told the court.

Tanasescu’s lawyer, Sheldon Tate, called Crown’s submissions cruel.

“The suggestion that there is no evidence of hardship to my client is to say that taking away of nearly 5,000 hours of liberty is meaningless,” said Tate.

He also pointed out that his client’s plea to manslaughter means he has been vindicated of murder. That suggestion drew a sharp reaction from Cody’s sister Stacey, a former school board trustee from Langley.

“Oh my god, he killed my brother,” the sister said as Tate continued his arguments.

“How disrespectful is it?”

Tate went on to point out that Tanasescu was remorseful.

“It cannot be said that there were not elements of self defence and provocation at play at the time,” Tate told the court.

“He didn’t want this man to die. When he was in the gym, had he wanted that man to die, there was all kinds of available tools – barbells, metal objects – that could have been used to quickly dispatch Mr. Cody.”

Justice Robert Crawford is set to sentence Tanasescu Friday.

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