Seventeen-year-old Brandon Thomas died when the car he was driving was struck head-on by a pickup truck driven by Ryan Gibson on Dec. 6, 2012

The province’s top court should lower the two-year eight-month prison sentence meted out to a driver who caused a deadly head-on crash on Highway 22 south of Cochrane nearly two years ago, lawyer Alain Hepner argued on Tuesday.

Hepner told the Alberta Court of Appeal that the two-year sentence presented in a joint submission by him and Crown prosecutor Ron Simenik earlier this year was a fit penalty for his client, Ryan Jordan Gibson, for causing the crash that killed Brandon Thomas, 17, and injured Kelly-Anne McGillis in a separate crash moments earlier.

“It’s in the range, although the lower end of the range, and was a joint submission,” said Hepner.

However, provincial court Judge Karim Jivraj rejected the presentation last May and tacked on another eight months.

Gibson, 24, had previously pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm in connection with the crash on Dec. 6, 2012.

The sentence included six months concurrent for causing the injuries to McGillis.

Appeal prosecutor Brian Graff argued that even though the Crown sought two years at trial, the court should retain the sentence as imposed.

Kim Thomas, Brandon’s mother, said outside court she wanted Graff to argue for an even higher sentence for Gibson, who is eligible for early parole on Nov. 5 or 6. That hearing will be at Drumheller Institution, where he is held.

“I even asked counsel to consider an increase, because a lot of case law presented in court was not comparable to Brandon’s case,” she said. “In most cases, the victims were passengers in the offending driver’s vehicle. The judge had even said Brandon did not get in with a drunk driver.”

Hepner said at sentencing that he and Simenik agreed to the proposal, as the prosecutor admitted he had some issues proving his case against Gibson. Both lawyers had sent extensive reasons to justify their position after the judge indicated that the joint offering was insufficient.

Gibson had driven on the wrong side of the road after passing two trucks, then made no attempt to avoid oncoming traffic and, after striking two vehicles and forcing them off the road, continued to drive on the wrong side until he collided head on with another vehicle, court heard.

He had a blood-alcohol level double the .08 driving limit. He was also prohibited from driving for four years after his release. The lawyers had agreed there should be a five-year ban, but the judge cut off a year.

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, justices Peter Martin and Patricia Rowbotham reserved their decision.

Source: Calgary Herald


Last updated on: 2014-11-04 | Link to this post