An impaired driver who struck and killed a woman while driving the wrong way on a Lowertown street in the fall of 2011 was sentenced Tuesday to four years jail and banned from driving for 10 years.

Maxime Morin Leblanc, 28, killed Alexandra Dodger, a recent graduate from McGill University law school who had just arrived in Ottawa and was due to start an articling position at Amnesty International.

A jury had found Morin Leblanc guilty of criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing death and refusing to give a breath sample.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Lalonde sentenced Morin Leblanc to three years in jail on each of the charges of criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving causing death — to be served concurrently — and added one year to be served consecutively for refusing to supply a breath sample.

Morin Leblanc drove down St. Patrick Street with two passengers the wrong way for 205 metres in the early hours of Oct. 15, 2011, before his Honda Accord struck and killed Dodger at the intersection of St. Patrick and Cumberland streets.

Police at the scene noticed that Morin Leblanc smelled of alcohol and his eyes were “red and glossy.”

Morin Leblanc admitted to having had several drinks and took a roadside breath test. But later, after he was told Dodger had died, he consulted a lawyer and refused to give the second, more definitive breath sample as he was legally obliged to do.

The penitentiary sentence will cost Morin Leblanc his job as a planning and reporting analyst at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, where he has worked full time for four years. His immediate superiors gave him glowing references during the pre-sentencing hearing but said his job could only be held open for two years.

Morin Leblanc, who had no criminal record and who is also studying social sciences at the University of Ottawa, had 21 letters of support from co-workers, family and friends all testifying that he is “dependable, trustworthy, honest and a gentle soul.”

A psychologist described him as feeling “tremendous remorse and moral guilt” over Dodger’s death and the pain and suffering it caused both her family and his own.

At a hearing in February, court heard Morin Leblanc told his psychologist he felt like “a monster who killed.”

At the same hearing, Morin LeBlanc stood up in court, turned to the victim’s family, and apologized, saying she will “be with me all my life.”

While conceding that Morin Leblanc has good prospects for rehabilitation and future employment, the judge said he was bound by precedents in similar cases where sentences have been steadily increasing.

“I have weighed the mitigating factors applicable to Mr. Morin Leblanc against the devastation caused by the loss of Alexandra Dodger’s life, the life of an intelligent and incredibly vibrant human being,” Lalonde said.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Humphreys had asked for a seven-year sentence and defence lawyer Lorne Goldstein for two years less a day.

Two years less a day for this type of offence is “passé,” said Lalonde.

After passing sentence, the judge told Morin Leblanc: “As you told members of Alexandra Dodger’s family, Alexandra Dodger’s memory keeps you going forward and I hope you use your time of incarceration to complete your social sciences degree and rebuild your life.”

“Whatever happened to the concept of designated driver?” added the judge, who urged people who drive while out celebrating to take turns abstaining from alcohol and driving sober.

“Then we don’t find ourselves in a situation like this.”

He said Dodger was “an exceptional woman with a bright future ahead of her. The community has suffered a great loss.”

Source: Ottawa Citizen



Last updated on: 2014-04-20 | Link to this post