CALGARY -- The slaying of Calgary financier Jack Beauchamp nearly seven years ago wasn’t a planned and deliberate gun-for-hire murder, a judge ruled Friday.
Justice Beth Hughes said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Mohamed Karim was sent to Beauchamp’s downtown Calgary office on Jan. 16, 2006 by Robert Deer for the purpose of shooting him to death.
Hughes acquitted both Deer and Karim of first-degree murder in the slaying of the Morbank Financial Inc. president.
But she did find Karim, who admitted shooting Beauchamp six times with a handgun supplied by Deer, guilty of second-degree murder and Deer guilty of manslaughter for sending the killer to confront the deceased.
Hughes said the two men hatched a plan for Karim to go to the Morbank offices armed with a handgun to confront Beauchamp over an ongoing business dispute.
But she said Deer did not intend for Karim to shoot the victim and therefore couldn’t be convicted of his murder.
Hughes noted Karim told undercover cops he went there to shoot Beauchamp in the stomach and legs and inadvertently shot him in the chest, instead.
She said while it wasn’t his intent to kill Beauchamp, he meant to cause him bodily harm and was reckless whether death ensued, making him guilty of second-degree murder.
"While I am suspicious I am unable to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, there was a carefully conceived plan to murder Mr. Beauchamp," she said.
“While I am suspicious I am unable to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, there was a carefully conceived plan to murder Mr. Beauchamp,” she said.
Defence counsel Adriano Iovinelli said although still facing a life term, Karim was satisfied he was acquitted of first-degree murder.
“We’re dealing with an individual who came into court facing first-degree murder and he’s convicted of second, so your answer’s there,” Iovinelli said, when asked about his client’s reaction.
After Hughes’ ruling, Deer’s lawyer, Jim Lutz, immediately moved to have his client released on bail pending a sentencing hearing.
Deer has already been in custody for more than six years, and under rules which applied at the time of his arrest is entitled to two-for-one credit for his so-called dead time.
The bail issue will be dealt with next week when a sentencing date is to be set.
Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson had argued Beauchamp’s killing was the result of a revenge-motivated attack by Karim at Deer’s request.