With a record stretching to 45 criminal driving convictions, the time has come to put the brakes on Aaron Myles Hotomanie for a long time, argues the prosecution. 

Although the 59-year-old hasn’t killed anyone while at the wheel, the Crown contends the chronic drunk or disqualified driver should receive a five-year prison sentence. The defence believes a six-month jail term, coupled with lengthy probation, will suffice.

Regina Provincial Court Judge Bruce Henning will have his say on June 29, when he’s expected to impose sentence.

Hotomanie pleaded guilty Thursday to impaired driving, failing to appear in court, refusing a breathalyzer test, and disqualified driving. His record totals 103 convictions, including 25 for disqualified driving, five for impaired, seven for driving over .08, three for leaving the scene of an accident, and two for refusing a breathalyzer test, court heard.

“Suffice it to say, this puts Mr. Hotomanie among the most serious offenders when it comes to driving convictions,” Crown prosecutor David Zeggelaar told court.

But defence lawyer Khurshed Chowdhury stressed that no one was physically harmed.

“He deserves at least some consideration,” he said. However, Henning pointed out the fact no one was hurt may have been more by sheer luck than design. “It’s fortunate he got caught in a snowbank and didn’t go further,” added the judge.

Chowdhury said his client is remorseful. “He says he will never repeat this.” 

The charges date back four years. On April 8, Hotomanie was arrested for a driving offence in Edmonton, where he was residing. He’s been in custody since then and was brought back to Regina on the outstanding charges. (He was also facing driving charges dating back to 1995, but they were stayed by the Crown.)

On Jan. 29, 2012, Hotomanie was passed out at the wheel of his running car that was stuck in a snowbank on Carry the Kettle First Nation, about an hour east of Regina. When RCMP arrived, a half-full, open, 12-pack of beer was on the front seat — as was his seven-year-old son.

Hotomanie admitted he’d had a “couple” of drinks, but refused a breathalyzer test, Zeggelaar said.

Four days later, Hotomanie was driving a van that collided with a truck at 7th Avenue and Angus Street. Keys in hand, he was stumbling and swaying when police arrived. An empty bottle of Lamb’s brand rum was on the floor of the driver’s seat. He refused to take a breath test and was also a disqualified driver.

“Mr. Hotomanie poses a grave risk,” Zeggelaar said, in stressing sentencing principles of denunciation and deterrence.

But Chowdhury urged the judge not to forget rehabilitation. The defence lawyer argued there’s a significant gap in Hotomanie’s record, with the last driving conviction from 1999. His client had stayed sober the last dozen years or so. “Relapse can happen,” said Chowdhury.

He said Hotomanie comes from a disadvantaged background, has been on his own since age 14, and is now a single parent to two young children, currently in the care of a relative.

“It will be a devastating situation for him if he has to go away,” said Chowdhury.

Source: Leader Post

Last updated on: 2016-06-20 | Link to this post