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Manslaughter Charge for Actions in Game

Tuesday May 5, 2009 in Canada Age Grade - Boys

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May 4, 2009, Mississauga, Canada - In an off the ball incident, an Erindale Secondary School player drove 15-year-old Lorne Park rugger Manny Castillo into the ground with a spear tackle. Castillo lost consciousness after the hit, went into convulsions and died a few days later.

The game took place at Lorne Park Secondary School in Ontario on May 7, 2007.

A witness said the Erindale player went berserk after he was called for an infraction. The accused "was stamping his feet and swearing at the referee" before it became apparent that Manny had been badly hurt.

The accused player, now 18, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in a trial that got under way on May 4th. Because of his age, the accused's name cannot be published.

In an opening statement, Crown attorney John Raftery said the fact that the confrontation happened during a game does not absolve the accused. "Had he walked up to Manny Castillo on the street and slammed him into the ground and he died, (the accused) would be guilty of manslaughter," Raftery said. "There is nothing magical because it happened on a rugby pitch."

A witness said there appeared to be no reason for the scuffle after the ball had come out of a scrum and was in the hands of an Erindale player 20-30 meters away. The two teams were in a scrum and the ball came out towards the Erindale side when his attention was drawn to two players from opposing teams.

"Suddenly towards the back of the Erindale side, (the accused) had Manny up over his torso and his hands were flailing over his back," the witness said. “The accused then "lifted him, turned him over and drove him into the ground."

The accused was initially charged with aggravated assault, but the charges were upgraded after Manny died.

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