Geo Mounsef was killed in May 2013 when an SUV driven by Richard Suter crashed through an outdoor patio on a restaurant in Edmonton in May 2013.

Geo Mounsef was killed in May 2013 when an SUV driven by Richard Suter crashed through an outdoor patio on a restaurant in Edmonton in May 2013

A man who crashed his SUV onto an Edmonton restaurant patio, killing a young boy, is seeking leave to appeal his sentence to the Supreme Court.

Richard Suter was sentenced in 2015 to four months in jail after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath sample when a death occurred.

But earlier this year, the Alberta Court of Appeal upped that sentence to 26 months.

The application to have the case heard by the Supreme Court will argue the sentence should be returned to the original four months. Suter's lawyer Dino Bottos said on Thursday the application was filed "out of principle."

"Why we are appealing is that Mr. Suter's original sentence of four months, we thought was fair. To raise it to 26 months, in all of the circumstances of the case, we think that was very unfair and did an injustice to Mr. Suter."

Richard Suter, along wife Gayska Suter, outside court in July 2015, after he pleaded guilty to refusing to offer a breath sample in the death of a toddler.

Bottos is also arguing for Suter to be on bail while the case winds through the Supreme Court process. 

"It does him no good to be kept in jail only to, later on, be victorious because he would have served his full sentence in any event. So it's very important then to make sure that he gets bail so there is actually a concrete consequence to him successfully launching the appeal."

While Bottos is hopeful the appeal will be heard by the top court, he realizes the odds are stacked against his client. 

"We know it's a long shot because the Supreme Court doesn't get to hear sentence appeals very often. But this is out of principle. My hope is I can salvage for Mr. Suter some recognition of the fact that he was sober and misled [by the lawyer he contacted that night] and not serve such a heavy sentence in the circumstance."

Court has previously heard the 65-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 and crashed onto a restaurant patio.

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

Months later, Suter was abducted from his home by three masked men and had a thumb cut off.

Although the sentencing judge took the vigilante violence into consideration in handing down the four-month sentence, the Alberta Court of Appeal did not because the violence did not emanate from state action.

Still, the court found 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 lower court judge agreed that Suter wasn't impaired at the time and was given bad legal advice to refuse a breathalyzer test.

Bottos says this case is emotional and asks that people, "look at the facts of the case before reacting with a negative tone to [the] appeal."

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2016-10-14 | Link to this post