A Saskatoon woman captured on cellphone video in a fight that left another woman dead is out on bail.
Paige Theriault-Fisher, 22, is charged with manslaughter after Hodan Hashi, 23, died Nov. 5 after a fight at at LIT Nightclub in downtown Saskatoon. Theriault-Fisher had been originally charged with second-degree murder, but that was reduced later the same day.
The 30-second altercation was recorded by people in the nightclub, with the graphic footage circulated widely on social media.
Prosecutor Frank Impey and defence lawyer Sharon Fox submitted a consent release plan to Judge Brent Klause at provincial court in Saskatoon on Thursday. Klause accepted the plan, which includes a $5,000 cash deposit, curfew and list of people to not contact.
"You talk about the social media aspect of it and people jump to conclusions. They may see a grainy video. They may see many videos and jump to conclusions," Impey said outside court.
"After the police had started collecting evidence, that charge was downgraded to a manslaughter charge. And so when you talk about people talking about a murder occurring, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the police made the right decision here. The circumstances do not warrant a charge of murder."
The furor on social media this week was such that the Saskatoon Police put out a statement on twitter clarifying and defending the decision to change the charge.
"Preliminary investigation resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old woman for second-degree murder," the statement said.
"As the investigation progressed and officers were able to view video from multiple sources and interview witnesses, the evidence instead supported a charge of manslaughter."
Fox said outside court that Theriault-Fisher never intended for her evening out to end with her charged with causing a death.
"Her heart and sympathies go out to the family of the deceased. She is certainly traumatized. This is an event that is going to affect two families going forward for the rest of their lives," Fox said outside court.
"We're confident as this matter proceeds that all the facts will demonstrate that this was an act of self defence that resulted in an unfortunate tragedy."
Police said that the two women knew each other. Fox did not have approval from her client to discuss the relationship or what triggered the altercation.
A family member in Ottawa told CBC that Hashi had moved to Saskatoon in the summer of 2021, following her graduation from Sir Robert Borden High School.
According to the relative, Hashi's family had lived in Saskatoon for a year in 2015 and Hashi wanted to return to a familiar place to pursue her higher education.
She was working in the city, they said, and was set to attend Saskatchewan Polytechnic in January to pursue studies in early childhood education.
"It's really devastating that she was taken away from us just like that," a friend who did not want to be named told CBC in messages exchanged over social media. "She would always have your back no matter what."
Hashi was one of nine siblings, the relative said.
"She was truly loved … and had so many people who knew and loved her."
Hashi's friend wrote to CBC, describing her as "a sweet, loving and kind young girl with a lot of ambitions [who] never failed to put a smile on my face."
"She does not deserve what happened to her."
Paige Theriault-Fisher is scheduled to return to court Dec. 15.