Ontario teen guilty in rugby death

Manny Castillo died after an on-field incident near the end of a high school rugby match. (SUN...

Manny Castillo died after an on-field incident near the end of a high school rugby match. (SUN MEDIA/HO)

BRIAN GRAY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:40 PM ET

BRAMPTON -- An 18-year-old Mississauga man has been found guilty of manslaughter in the May 2007 death of Manny Castillo.

Justice Bruce Duncan delivered the verdict this morning.

Castillo died after an on-field incident near the end of a high school rugby match.

The Crown contended the accused used an illegal tackle to lift Castillo off the ground before driving him head-first into the ground.

Family members and supporters broke into tears as the verdict was read.

“The defendant intentionally applied force that was outside the rules of the game or any standard by which the game is played,” Duncan ruled.

“The defendant committed an assault, an unlawful act. That unlawful act caused death. The defendant is therefore guilty of manslaughter.”

The defence had claimed their client acted in self-defence and told the judge Castillo knew he was playing a physical sport and consented to having physical force exerted against him.

“The playing field is not a criminal law-free zone,” Duncan said Thursday.

“The laws of the land apply in the same way as they do elsewhere.”

Duncan told the court that he accepted the evidence of the game’s referee that the accused — who had played aggressively and fought with referees during the game — jumped up after injuring the victim and essentially admitted what he had done.

The referee testified that he heard the boy say, “pile drive him hardest I could into ground.”

Another witness testified that the accused said, “ he was choking me so I picked him up and slammed him into the ground.”

But the accused countered in his own defence that he never lifted Manny off the ground and that the play was a normal part of the game that ended tragically.

The accused had pleaded not guilty in the judge-alone trial.

With files from The Canadian Press


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