Moments before the second day of sentencing hearings ended, Aneil Sanghera, who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his distant cousin, spoke to the court.
Standing at the front of the courtroom, Sanghera unfolded a letter and began to speak, first to the three daughters and estranged wife of the deceased, Pardeep Terry Dulay.
"I am sorry that because of me you no longer have your dad and your husband with you," Sanghera said through tears.
"I will never forgive myself and I don't expect you to forgive me," he told the rest of Dulay's family, a few of whom were present.
Friday marked the second day of sentencing submissions from both the Crown and Sanghera's counsel in a trial that has torn two families apart, as illustrated by the victim impact statements read aloud and the crumpled tissues in the hands of many of those in the courtroom.
The court heard Thursday that a fight broke out between Sanghera and Dulay on the balcony of the Fraserview Hall in Vancouver during a wedding celebration in 2017.
The fight began when Dulay shoved Sanghera, leading to moments where both men gained the upper hand. However, it ended with Sanghera repeatedly kicking Dulay's unresponsive body on the floor.
The Crown has asked for a sentence of four years.
Targeted shooting against Sanghera
In the defence's submission, lawyer Joven Narwal described an assassination attempt against Sanghera in the fallout of the wedding.
On May 4, 2018, Narwal said a masked man broke into the home of Sanghera's father-in-law, where Sanghera was staying. The man called out for Sanghera and eventually shot the father-in-law and a friend. Both survived.
Sanghera was able to escape but Narwal explained how it led to Sanghera's diagnosis of PTSD.
Delta police later confirmed there was evidence the shooting was motivated by the death at Fraserview Hall, Narwal told the court.
The defence argued that the assassination attempt and the effect it has had on Sanghera and his family are collateral consequences that should be taken into consideration when deciding the sentence.
"The psychological impact of the shooting on Mr. Sanghera cannot be overstated," said Narwal.
"There is an active threat to his life."
Throughout the hearing, the defence spoke to how Sanghera was immediately remorseful for his actions and how he accepts complete responsibility, as well as how the events of the wedding have affected him.
Narwal said a letter from Sanghera's wife explained how following the death, Sanghera became depressed, refused to eat or leave his bed, lost 30 pounds and suffered frequent grand mal seizures as a result of his epilepsy, which flares up under emotional stress.
In the letter, she explained how, some nights, she holds him while he cries until he falls asleep.
Dulay died of a cardiac arrest
In seeking a lighter sentence, Narwal argued the fight was not the cause of the death but a contributing factor. He drew differences between other manslaughter cases where the physical attack is directly related to the cause of death, such as a person who hits their head on the ground after being punched.
The defence says this case is more complex because the cause of death was cardiac arrest, adding exertion and stress also led to it.
"It's not unreasonable to believe that Sanghera didn't realize that his actions would lead to death," argued Narwal.
The defence counsel is pushing for a sentence of one year and has requested that Sanghera serve his sentence in a provincial facility, so that he may continue to work with his therapist and be close to his family.
During his final statement to the court, Sanghera made a promise to Dulay's family.
"I will spend my lifetime trying to do right by you and being a better man," he said.
A sentence is expected the week of Sept. 14.