Murder charges downgraded in fatal stabbing of Edmonton high school student

·2 min read
Karanveer Sahotal, 16, is remembered as gentle and kind by his cousins, Monica Binns and Shivleen Sidhu. (Courtesy of the Sahota Family - image credit)
Karanveer Sahotal, 16, is remembered as gentle and kind by his cousins, Monica Binns and Shivleen Sidhu. (Courtesy of the Sahota Family - image credit)

The cousin of an Edmonton teen who was stabbed to death outside his high school last April says the family is "frustrated and disheartened by the judicial process" after the Crown reduced second-degree murder charges against six of the accused.

The six are now charged with manslaughter.

One 14-year-old boy remains charged with the second-degree murder of Karanveer Sahota.

The 16-year-old Grade 10 student was waiting for a bus outside McNally High School on April 8 when police say he was swarmed by a group of six boys and a girl, ranging in age from 14 to 18.

Sahota suffered a stab wound and died in hospital a week later.

Sahota's cousin said they first heard about the charge reductions in an unconventional way.

"The accused were bragging about it to their friends," Monica Binns wrote in a statement Tuesday.

"This surely is no arena for celebration."

According to one of the defence lawyers, a senior Crown prosecutor took over the case and reviewed the evidence gathered to date, leading to the reduction of charges against six of the accused.

"If at any time following the laying of charges the Crown prosecutor becomes aware that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with a particular charge, the charge may be changed, stayed or withdrawn," an Alberta Justice spokesperson said in a written statement.

The spokesperson declined further comment since the case is still before the courts.

None of the accused are in custody. Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, their identities are protected.

Under the act, the maximum penalty for a youth convicted of manslaughter is three years. It is up to the court to determine how much of that time is spent in custody and how much would be under community supervision.

If a youth is convicted of second-degree murder, he or she would face up to four years in custody, followed by conditional supervision in the community. The maximum total sentence is seven years.

The case is back in court Oct. 11. Trial dates may be set.