Argument leads to manslaughter conviction in Alberni

A provincial court judge sentenced a Port Alberni man to 40 months in jail after an argument led to manslaughter last year.

A Port Alberni man who beat another man to death last year after an argument has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for manslaughter.

William David Oickle, 28, pleaded guilty to the charge in Port Alberni Provincial Court on Tuesday.

Oickle’s lawyer Jim Wright sought a 30-month sentence while prosecution sought a 40-month sentence. Judge T. Gouge agreed with the 40-month sentence, Crown prosecutor Christina Proteau said.

Oickle was charged with one count of manslaughter in the death of George Ledrew, 56, in November 2011 in Port Alberni. Oickle appeared before Judge P. McCarthy on March 29 and chose to have a trial by Supreme Court judge and jury with a preliminary inquiry.

Proteau said that in her record of facts read in court, Oickle and Ledrew were both tenants of the Port Alberni Shelter on Eighth Avenue.

The incident started with an argument between the two men inside the shelter. Ledrew left and instead of leaving things alone Oickle followed him outside and struck him in the face. Ledrew fell, struck his head on the pavement and died afterward.

Oickle attended alcohol treatment over the summer. “But his alcohol rehabilitation is not a primary concern. It’s better suited to be done in a controlled institutional environment,” Proteau said.

Oickle was re-arrested in Nanaimo on Nov. 8 after violating probation conditions that required him to remain in Port Alberni.

The Crown stayed the charges in the probation matter but the incident factored into the manslaughter sentencing, Proteau said.

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