Kelly York leaves Calgary Courts for killing a motorcyclist while driving drunk in Calgary, Alta. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

If Kelly James York is simply having a wonderful Christmas time, you sure can’t blame him.

 York never expected to be sharing the holiday season with friends, or to be spending the Yuletide surrounded by his loved ones — because the killer drunk was supposed to be locked up in jail.

Six years, the judge said.

But barely 18 months later, the 44-year-old serial drunk driver has been granted day parole, his punishment for taking the life of a 45-year-old Chestermere father not even amounting to two full years in jail.

“What broke my heart most was telling my mom that he was out on day parole,” said Karen Harrison, who was notified of her brother’s killer status via phone call from the Parole Board of Canada.

“She was speechless.”

Karen says she was told that York will be living in a half-way house and free during the day, just weeks after a similar phone call informed her that the killer driver was being allowed out of Drumheller Institution for temporary escorted absences.

“He’s free to do what he wants now during the day,” said Karen.

“He’s free, and we’re serving a life sentence for what he did.”

Who can blame any of Tony Harrison’s family for their frustration and outrage?

York was not some otherwise innocent rube for whom appearing in front of a judge was an appalling, life-changing novelty.

This seasoned drunk driver, who crossed directly into the path of Tony Harrison’s motorcycle and into a head-on collision with the bike, knew all about courts and judges and getting caught for being sloshed behind the wheel.

Society tells us over and over than drunk driving is a serious crime with serious consequences in Canada, but York was and is 80-proof evidence that’s not true.

With no minimum sentencing for impaired driving, drunks can depend on the system for kid-glove treatment, and York would have known that as he climbed behind the wheel that day.

Why not risk driving drunk, when the price is so small?

On the day he slammed into Harrison with triple the legal limit of booze in his bloodstream, York was already a twice-convicted drunk driver who’d also been convicted twice of getting behind the wheel while disqualified.

Harrison was an innocent man, riding down 17 Ave. S.E. when York’s van crossed the centre line — its driver too hammered to even drive in a straight line.

If York didn’t actually laugh outright over his past encounters with the Canadian justice system, his boozy disdain for the court’s so-called deterrents and punishment were made plain on July 15, 2012, when he got rat-faced drunk and killed Harrison.

And now, having violently ended someone’s life and left a daughter without her dad, York has supposedly paid his debt to society after serving barely 18 months behind bars.

It’s a joke alright, but only York is laughing.

“It feels like they have placed zero value on my brother’s life,” said Karen.

“This means he gets a slap on the wrist for killing someone, and this is his third conviction. Six years didn’t end up meaning anything.”

Ironically, that six-year span was considered harsh at the time, leading York to appeal the sentence.

He lost, and the Alberta Court of Appeal said six years reflected society’s current attitude towards impaired motorists.

“Sentences for impaired driving causing death have increased in recent years, commensurate with legislative changes and society’s need to deter and denunciate the senseless loss of life on Canadian roads,” Paperny wrote.

Now, it seems the only thing senseless was fighting for justice at all.

“This does not serve as a deterrent for anyone, and what it says is so long as you’re intoxicated, you can get away with murder,” said Karen.

“He’s going to do it again — he’ll be back in front of a judge.” 

Source: Calgary Sun



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Last updated on: 2015-12-24 | Link to this post