State of Michigan v Bassel Abdul-Amir Saad (2015) H&FLR 2015-29
Wayne County Circuit Court (Michigan)
13 March 2015
Coram: Judge Cameron
Catchwords: Michigan – soccer – referee – assault – death – homicide – manslaughter – sentence
Facts: The defendant, a 36-year-old Lebanese national, was playing in a recreational soccer match at Livonia on 29 June 2014. The referee, John Bieniewicz, issued him with a red card, ejecting him from the game. The defendant lost his temper and punched the referee, causing fatal injuries.
The accused was charged with second degree murder and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. His history included assaulting another soccer player during a match in 2005.
Held: Sentencing the defendant to fifteen years imprisonment with a minimum term of eight years –
1. That the defendant was an example of what the community considered wrong with escalating violence in sports. His offence was “a childish, senseless act of taking another man’s life with no excuse or justification other than dealing with rage that [he was] unable to contain” (1).
2. That the defendant pay $9,265 restitution to the deceased’s family in respect of funeral expenses.
Note: It is possible that the defendant’s potential deportation following his term of imprisonment may have been a factor in the sentence imposed.
The court’s case record (including a summary of the sentence) is available here. This report also used information contained in reports published in the Detroit News of 20 February 2015, the Detroit Free Press of 13 March 2015, the New York Daily News of 13 March 2015, USA Today of 13 March 2015, and reported on NBC News on 13 March 2015, on CBS News on 13 March 2015 and on WXYZ Detroit on 13 March 2015.
(1) Cf the sentencing remarks in DPP v Ryan (2007) H&FLR 2014-49.