Victoria man facing manslaughter charge after assault ends in death

Victim's grieving friends view case as an important lesson

The Victoria man accused of killing a 20-year-old Shawnigan Lake man now faces a manslaughter charge, instead of the second-degree murder charge Victoria police officers initially recommended.

Brandon Huth, 24, appeared via video conferencing in a Victoria courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

Wearing red prison-issue attire, Huth sat, leaning forward with his arms on his knees, and listened as his defence lawyer Peter Firestone asked Judge Susan Wishart that a bail hearing be set for Monday (Dec. 5) at 9:30 a.m. in provincial court. Huth will appear in person, and in the meantime will remain in jail.

Just before the court proceedings began, Firestone approached Huth’s father Lawrence, who was seated in the courtroom with other family members.

“Lawrence, I have some good news. I didn’t want to tell you over the phone,” said Firestone, who was recently retained as Huth’s lawyer.

Firestone told Lawrence that his son’s murder charge had been reduced to manslaughter, which carries a wide range of prison sentences.

“(Manslaughter) doesn’t involve a specific intent to kill the individual necessarily, but it’s a killing that results from an unlawful act,” said Neil MacKenzie, spokesperson for the Ministry of Attorney General’s criminal justice branch.

After reviewing the circumstances in the case, Crown counsel “wasn’t satisfied that the circumstances supported proceeding with a charge of murder,” he said.

After initially fleeing the scene, Huth turned himself in to Victoria police at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, four hours after he allegedly assaulted Tyler Noble at 2:30 a.m. Police say the altercation happened at the corner of Douglas and View streets, outside McDonald’s.

Noble, who was struck and knocked unconscious, was rushed to Victoria General Hospital and placed on life support. He died later that afternoon.

Nearly a dozen of Noble’s close friends spent a few minutes hugging one another outside the courtroom Tuesday. Many appeared visibly shaken and grief-stricken.

“I just had to be part of (the proceedings),” said Shane Stewart. “He was definitely one of my best friends, a life-long friend.”

He said the case offers an important message to others.

“We’ve all made dumb decisions, including myself, I’ll admit it,” Stewart said. “Take two extra seconds to make a decision. Think about it, what’s going to happen after … something (that can happen) so quickly, within minutes, just like that.” 

The accused’s father, Lawrence Huth, declined to comment.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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