SURREY - The family of Surrey stabbing victim Jamie Kehoe is floored by the Crown's decision not to lay charges against the suspect.
"I am going to fight this decision," Robin Kehoe, the victim's grandmother, wrote on Facebook. "I will not give up. There was six young kids involved in this fight and not one charge was laid.
"No justice for Jamie," she wrote, on the RIP Jamie Kehoe site. "How is that possible. No we really need to keep strong because I feel just like I did the day it happened."
Kehoe, 18, was killed in a late night attack on a public transit bus on Oct. 1, 2011, while the bus was stopped at 72nd Avenue and 128th Street.
Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch, said Thursday night that the branch has decided not to lay charges after concluding there is "no substantial likelihood" of securing a murder or manslaughter conviction in the case.
The decision has drawn criticism from other family and friends of Kehoe. "Absolutely disgusting!" one named Jenn wrote on Facebook.
He noted Kehoe had been fatally stabbed during a fight between his friends and a couple on the bus. "There is no clear evidence to what degree, if at all, Mr. Kehoe himself was involved in this altercation, and no reliable direct evidence of how the fatal wound was inflicted or who was responsible for it," MacKenzie said.
He added that while police have a suspect in mind, "the statements of witnesses, both those who were involved in the altercation and those who simply observed it, provide an incomplete and at times contradictory picture of events on the bus" that night.
"Some witnesses gave multiple statements to police which were inconsistent with each other on material points," MacKenzie said. "The weight of the available evidence raises a realistic possibility, perhaps even a probability, that the suspect likely stabbed Mr. Kehoe, either intentionally or inadvertently, is response to an attack on the suspect by a male companion of Mr. Kehoe. The male companion had a collapsible metal baton in his possession and was using it to strike the suspect."
MacKenzie said it's not clear what weapon was used to stab Kehoe, or when it was produced. He said some witnesses claim it was used it self defence against the baton attack.
"While the circumstantial evidence reasonably supports an inference that the suspect was responsible for the stabbing of Mr. Kehoe," MacKenzie added, "the Crown is not able to establish to the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect was not at the time defending himself against the attack with the metal baton, a device capable of causing death or grievous bodily harm."
Hundreds of mourners attended Kehoe's funeral service at Fraser Heights Funeral Home, among them a busload of teenage buddies brought in from North Delta's Skateboard Park.
Standing behind a podium, to the right of Kehoe's coffin, Pastor Mark Laird said it's always "gut-wrenching" when a young life is taken.
"This is a young boy who had it in his heart to defend somebody and in doing so got in harm's way," he said.
Jason Kehoe delivered his son's eulogy. He said the teen didn't like to fight.
"Just a beautiful child with a beautiful smile and a bright future," is how he remembered his boy.
"Jamie, I love you more than life and I'll miss you forever," he said. "More than words can say."
The inside cover of his memorial card contained a message they called Jamie's Law:
- Always think twice before you act.
- Always respect your peers
- Always leave your knives at home.
A makeshift memorial still marks the site where he was killed. Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil there shortly after the teen died.