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Burnaby man receives four years for "one-punch manslaughter"

A Burnaby man was sentenced Thursday for his part in a 2009 fatal assault in Surrey. Faris Omerovic, 20, received four years of jail time for the 2009 "one-punch manslaughter" of Sher Singh. B.C.

A Burnaby man was sentenced Thursday for his part in a 2009 fatal assault in Surrey.

Faris Omerovic, 20, received four years of jail time for the 2009 "one-punch manslaughter" of Sher Singh.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker said in her judgment that Omerovic is a significant risk to reoffend and is a risk to the public unless his drug and alcohol addictions are treated.

The case dates back to March 1, 2009, when Omerovic was trying to shoplift a bottle of Crown Royal from Donegal's Cold Beer and Wine Store, in the 12000 block of 96th Avenue, when 54-year-old Sher Singh, a former employee who was at the shop visiting, grabbed him as he went through the turnstile.

When Singh told Omerovic that he should pay, Omerovic responded, "Don't f---ing touch me," and punched Singh in the face.

Singh fell to the ground and hit his head on the floor. Omerovic left.

Unconscious for several minutes, Singh was revived by ambulance attendants but didn't want to go to the hospital and instead went home with a friend.

Seventeen hours later, Singh was dead. He had suffered a brain injury as a result of the fall and a hemorrhage had killed him.

Omerovic, who was not arrested until the following year, claimed that he couldn't remember what happened and that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time.

Ker accepted that Omerovic didn't intend for Singh to die, but said that what he did was dangerous and he should take responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

"This was not an accident," Ker said. "It was intentional assault that resulted in a man dying."

Omerovic has a "lengthy and unenviable criminal record," she said, including 11 thefts between the time of Singh's death and his arrest.

However, because of his genuine remorse and the work he has done while in jail, Ker said there are strong prospects for Omerovic's rehabilitation.

Omerovic was given double credit for the 17 months and three days he's spent in custody. He will serve another 13 months, 24 days in jail followed by three years of probation. Conditions of his probation include a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for the first year, staying out of liquor stores, pubs and bars and performing 120 hours of community service.

Ker said Omerovic is lucky to have so much support from his family when others may have written him off as a lost cause.

"The choice is yours. Do not disappoint them again," she said.

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