Dismissing a joint sentencing submission of two years for a confessed drunk driver, a Calgary judge instead handed the admitted killer a 32-month term.

But the mother of victim Brandon Thomas said even the increased punishment imposed Monday by provincial court Judge Karim Jivraj was not enough. And Kim Thomas said the carnage on the roads in Canada wreaked by drunk drivers will continue if courts don’t get tougher on them.

“I’m thankful for the judge we had, he listened,” the often teary mom said of Jivraj’s decision to take the rare judicial step of rejecting a joint Crown and defence position.

“He took the time to not just accept the lawyers’ bargain behind closed doors,” she said.

But Thomas had hoped for a much harsher term for motorist Ryan Jordan Gibson, who pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death in the Dec. 6, 2012, crash which killed the Cochrane teen.

Gibson, 24, also admitted to injuring another motorist when he forced two vehicles off Hwy. 22 south of Cochrane while driving in the wrong lane before crashing head on into the car being driven by Thomas, 17.

“We need to stop impaired driving, we need to stop innocent people from losing their life and families from losing their brothers and sisters,” the dead boy’s mom said.

“It’s not going to stop — people have to be responsible for their choices.”

Crown prosecutor Ron Simenik had earlier agreed with defence counsel Alain Hepner that a two-year sentence — the bottom of the normal range of two to four years for such a crime — was appropriate.

Simenik conceded that although Gibson admitted his guilt, the Crown had evidentiary problems in proving its case.

Jivraj said despite the trade-off, he couldn’t accept the joint submission presented by the lawyers.

“I have come to the conclusion that a sentence at the bottom end of the range ... would not adequately address the aggravating factors,” he said.

Among those the judge cited were the fact Gibson’s admitted blood/alcohol level at the time of the collision was more than double the legal limit and he was driving on the wrong side of the road.

But he said that while the teen’s death was “a sad, but all too frequent example of what can happen as a result of drinking and driving,” he had to consider the law.

“The Crown is correct in stating that this is not a court of vengeance,” he said.

Source: Calgary Sun


Last updated on: 2014-05-13 | Link to this post