The father of a B.C. boy who fatally overdosed after being given drugs, while other youth looked, filmed and laughed, is calling for more people to be held accountable.
Carson Crimeni, 14, died on Aug. 7, 2019, near a Langley, B.C., skate park.
The Crown announced charges against a 20-year-old man, who can not be named because he was a youth at the time of the incident, on Thursday.
“The best word I can think of is relief. It’s been two years and a month waiting for this. It’s been getting to the point where there have been points I’ve doubted it was even going to happen,” Carson’s father, Aron Crimeni, told Global News.
“I don’t know if there will be further charges or not. Right now it’s looking like it’s just the one. We believe there should be more.”
Video from Carson’s final hours, later posted to social media, shows the boy in steadily deteriorating condition, sweating heavily and becoming increasingly agitated.
It was only hours later that he was found barely breathing in a ditch not far from the Walnut Grove skate park.
Criminal lawyer Ravi Hira said in such cases, manslaughter is likely the most appropriate charge because, in order to win a murder conviction, Crown prosecutors would need to prove the defendant had intentionally meant to kill someone.
He said there have been several cases laying precedent for a manslaughter conviction when a vulnerable person is given drugs or alcohol.
“The test is if you are giving drugs — dangerous, copious quantities of drugs — to a vulnerable person and you don’t care whether or not bodily harm or death is going to ensue, you are guilty,” he said.
However, Hira said it would be difficult for prosecutors to secure a conviction for others who were simply there at the time.
“Generally, one is only a party to an offence if one aids or abets the principal offender — just by being there while an offence is committed, by being a bystander, by laughing, that doesn’t necessarily elevate you to the criminal culpability of a party,” Hira said.
“I know of no case where the failure to call 911 has resulted in criminal conviction.”
The case is now before the courts, and Crimeni said while a trial won’t bring Carson back, he hopes it will act as a deterrent to others.
“It’s been all-consuming. It’s really hard to describe. Nothing’s really gotten better for us. The loss is as strong today as it has ever been,” he said.
“This won’t make up for his loss, but it will teach people that what was done was wrong and hopefully prevent this from happening again in the future.”
-With files from Rumina Daya