A man convicted of manslaughter and impaired driving in a crash that killed three young men from Beaumont, Alta. three years ago was given an eight-year prison sentence on Wednesday.

Johnathan Pratt, 30, was found guilty in May for being behind the wheel of a truck that smashed into a car carrying Bradley Arsenault, 18, Thaddeus Lake, 22 and Kole Novak, 18, on Nov. 26, 2011. 

He was also given a lifetime driving prohibition. 

​Pratt told the court that he felt pain for what he called a "very unfortunate circumstance." 

"There's not one day goes by I don't think about the families," he said. 

"I feel for everyone that has been affected.  It wasn't my decision to have this drag out for 1,006 days but I did want my day in court.

I don't ask for forgiveness for myself  but for you guys because you deserve it.  It's something I'll live with for the rest of my life."

Pratt was sentenced after the court heard victim impact statements from families of the three men.

"I have a recurring nightmare where (Kole) is dying and I can't save him," said Zane Novak, father of  Kole Novak. 

Sheri Arsenault, mother of Bradley Arsenault, told Pratt that he ruined her life. 

"You may be sorry now because you were found guilty but your apology would be hollow, meaningless and dishonest," she said. 

Nearly three times the legal limit 

Manslaughter convictions are rare in impaired driving cases. The Crown asked for a 10-year sentence. Pratt's lawyer argued for a sentence in the range of four to seven years. 

Outside of court, Arsenault said she was pleased with the judge's decision.  

“I don’t want to use the word ‘happy’ because there’s no such thing as that word regarding something like this,” she said. “But I am pleased with the outcome.”

Arsenault said that she doesn't see evidence of remorse or empathy in what Pratt told the court. She said she wanted to convey her anger in the ten-page statement that she read in court. 

“I just wanted to scold him and tell him: “Do not call this accident. Do not fool yourself and call this an accident.’ This was entirely preventable and I wanted to pound that home to him.”

A lab report presented in court estimated that at the time of the collision, Pratt’s blood alcohol concentration was between 0.2 and 0.244, nearly three times over the legal limit.

Pratt’s vehicle was travelling at a speed of 199 km/hr just before the point of impact.

Since police found Pratt under his truck at the scene of the crash, his lawyer argued that someone else was driving.

Justice Paul Belzil dismissed that suggestion, calling it “nothing more than speculation in an evidentiary vacuum.”

Pratt refused to speak to reporters outside of the courtroom this morning.

Source: CBC News



Last updated on: 2014-08-29 | Link to this post