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Man convicted of manslaughter following fatal confrontation with co-worker gets six months

Keith Fraser, Postmedia Network

A man who was convicted in the slaying of a co-worker outside a Vancouver pool hall has been sentenced to six months less a day in jail.

In June, B.C. Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke found Kim Tuong Nguyen guilty of the April 3, 2015 manslaughter of Minh Doan outside the Kien Giang Billiard Hall on Kingsway.

The two Vietnamese men, who worked for the same drywall installation company, occasionally frequented the pool hall. On the day of the slaying, they had gotten into an argument inside the premises.

Other patrons at the pool hall had separated the two men, but the dispute later spilled outside, with Nguyen lunging from a concrete barrier in the parking lot toward Doan, who fell backward and struck his head on the pavement.

Doan, who was married and had one child, was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital but died of his injuries the following day.

The Crown argued that Nguyen had punched Doan in the face, but the judge said there was a reasonable doubt that he had done so. The judge did conclude that an assault had occurred and that Nguyen had caused Doan's death and was therefore guilty of manslaughter.

In imposing sentence, the judge noted that sentencings for manslaughter can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the offender and the offence, and found that in Nguyen's case, he fell at the lowest end of the range.

Aggravating factors included that the tragic death could easily have been avoided had Nguyen followed the advice of his friends at the pool hall to simply leave the premises and go home, and that when Doan fell to the ground, Nguyen returned and tried to kick him.

The mitigating factors were that Nguyen had no prior criminal record or propensity toward violence and the crime was out of character for him.

The judge told Nguyen that he had caused "terrible suffering" for Doan's family, but that the circumstances were unusual.

"If I had found that the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you struck Mr. Doan with your fist, I would have concluded that the appropriate sentence must be one of at least three years," said Ehrcke.

"As the assault in this case did not involve a punch, however, and as you have no criminal record and apparently no propensity to violence, I am satisfied that this is one of those exceptional and truly rare cases in which a sentence at the bottom end of the range can appropriately be imposed."

The judge sentenced Nguyen to six months less a day in prison and three years of probation.

Court heard that while Nguyen is a resident of Canada, he is not a Canadian citizen. As a result of his conviction, he is inadmissible to Canada and subject to deportation. Because the judge gave him a sentence of less than six months, he will be able to file an appeal to any deportation order.

Ehrcke's written reasons for sentence were posted at the court's website Thursday, but were delivered orally on Aug. 15.

kfraser@postmedia.com