Richard Suter in a May 21, 2013, court sketch

Alberta's top court has increased the sentence of a man who crashed his SUV onto an Edmonton restaurant patio, killing a young boy.

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled that Richard Suter must turn himself into police this week to serve a 26-month sentence in prison.

Suter was originally sentenced late last year to four months jail, after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath sample when there is a death.

Court heard the 62-year-old retired businessman had been arguing with his wife while parking his SUV in May 2013, and mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake.

Two-year-old Geo Mounsef, who was having dinner with his parents and baby brother, was pinned against a wall and died.

Following the crash, Suter was beaten up by a mob and was later abducted from his home by three masked men and had a thumb cut off.

The Appeal Court says it took the vigilante violence into consideration but that Suter was a mature man with life experience who made a choice not to provide a breath sample to officers after the accident.

Suter testified at his sentencing hearing that he had three drinks over four hours before the crash, but wasn't drunk. The sentencing judge agreed that Suter wasn't impaired at the time and was given bad legal advice to refuse a breathalyzer test.

But Suter "decided to withhold crucial evidence as to his condition, despite being required to do so by law, and when aware that he had killed a child and injured others and under circumstances which enraged the public around him and called for explanation," said the appeal decision.

"He chose to drive when his ability to drive was impaired by his own anger and poor health, and continued to drive while distracted by a serious, emotional argument into an area where the risk of public injury through driving error was high."

Both the Crown and the defence appealed the initial four-month sentence -- the Crown had wanted three years and the defence sought a condition sentence Suter could serve at home.

The high court ruled that the crime called for prison time, and that Suter will get credit for the time he has already served.

The court also decided to uphold a 30-month driving ban on Suter following his release.

Source: CTV News


Last updated on: 2016-08-10 | Link to this post