A Manitoba man convicted of drunk driving for the 18th and 19th time has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Roy Heide was arrested drunk and behind the wheel in Morden in June 2014. Free on bail, he was re-arrested drunk at the wheel in Winnipeg just six weeks later.

Heide pleaded guilty to impaired driving, driving over .08, two counts of driving while disqualified, theft of a motor vehicle, and two counts of breaching court orders.

Heide, previously prohibited from driving for life, has an “established pattern” of disobeying court orders and shows “little prospect of long-term rehabilitation,” Judge Linda Choy said at a sentencing hearing Friday.

“Mr. Heide is an ongoing threat to society and a lengthy sentence is necessary to protect the public,” Choy said.

Heide, 58, has spent 34 years of his adult life in custody, on parole or statutory release. He has 19 convictions for drinking and driving and 12 convictions for driving while disqualified since 1978, as well as numerous convictions for fraud, theft and failing to comply with court orders.

In 2009, Heide was convicted of yet another drunk driving incident and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. Heide was still on parole for that offence when police arrested him in Morden. He served out the remainder of his sentence — just two days — before he was released on bail and re-offended.

“I find it astonishing that he was granted bail,” Crown attorney Joel Myskiw said during a sentencing submission earlier this month.

Myskiw recommended Heide be sentenced to 12 years in prison.

That’s far too long for a man whose crimes can all be traced to his long-standing addiction to alcohol, said defence lawyer Matt Gould, who recommended Heide be sentenced to no more than seven years in prison.

Heide “has a sickness that has enveloped every aspect of his life ... dating back to when he was 15,” Gould said. “At the end of the day, Mr. Heide is sick. To put him into custody for 12 years is inappropriate.”

Choy appeared to agree.

“While the offences are incredibly serious and not excusable, I recognize that there is a disease involved and Mr. Heide is a sick man whose ability to make proper choices is affected,” she said.

Source: Winnipeg Sun


Last updated on: 2015-07-13 | Link to this post