Alberta’s appeals court has upheld the sentence of an impaired driver who shot and killed another motorist after crashing into his car on a rural road near Edmonton.
Harpreet Kang — known as Harry — died after being shot in the head by Matthew Anderson after Anderson slammed his car into Kang’s pickup truck on April 9, 2018.
Anderson, who is in his 30s, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison last fall by Justice Adam Germain.
Anderson later appealed, arguing that Germain erred in concluding the manslaughter was a “near murder.”
In a decision released Friday, a three-member Court of Appeal panel concluded there were no legal errors in Germain’s decision and dismissed the appeal.
“The appellant’s actions in all the circumstances were reckless, unlawful, and highly dangerous, and resulted in tragedy — the death of a 24-year-old who sadly was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the court wrote.
The court noted Hang was a recent immigrant to Canada and that his “senseless death shattered his family.”
Kang and a friend were parked on Range Road 234, southeast of Anthony Henday Drive, when Anderson slammed his Acura into their pickup truck.
Anderson had recently left a party where he drank alcohol and consumed pain medication. His car was travelling more than 160 km/h the instant before the collision.
All three of the vehicle occupants survived the crash. Anderson shot Kang in the head with a Glock pistol he carried in a shoulder holster after Kang proposed calling the police.
Anderson was under a lifetime firearms prohibition and a one-year driving prohibition at the time of the crimes.
Manslaughter cases are typically evaluated on a spectrum ranging from “near accidents” to “near murders.”
Manslaughters involving firearms carry a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum of life in prison.
The Crown asked for 16 to 18 years, while the defence argued for eight to 10. The appeal court ruled the sentence imposed by Germain was appropriate.
“Quite simply, the act of pulling out a loaded restricted firearm following a failed attempt to convince the victim not to involve the police, and ultimately firing that firearm causing the victim’s death, justifiably elevated the appellant’s moral culpability and the gravity of this offence to ‘near murder,’” the court wrote.
Anderson has around four years in credit for pre-trial custody, including under COVID-19 restrictions.