Paterson’s Perspective by Duck Paterson.

OPINION: 5-month jail sentence for driver convicted in crash that killed 19-year-old teen is shameful

Duck Paterson calls for stricter punishments for impaired drivers

I’ll get to the headline shortly but there are more important facts to talk about first.

Just some facts that those of us who sit in the coffee shops or around the woodstove at the shop or any other place of gathering where the problems of the world are solved, by those who know all.

A Manitoba man rammed his truck through a gate at Rideau Hall (oh those crazy Manitobans) before arming himself and heading on foot to arrest Prime Minister Trudeau last July was sentenced recently to six years in prison. Corey Hurren, a 46-year-old sausage-maker, was given one year of credit for time spent in custody, meaning he still faces five years behind bars. He is also prohibited from possessing any firearms, ammunition or explosive substances for life.

Now here’s another interesting fact that comes out of our judicial system. According to online court documents, Daon Gordon Glasgow, 37, was sentenced to seven years and 301 days for discharging a firearm (wounding a Transit police officer in Surrey) with intent to wound or disfigure, five years for having a loaded prohibited weapon, seven days for unlawfully discharging a firearm and a lifetime ban on possessing firearms. Glasgow had been on mandatory release from prison on a Surrey manslaughter conviction at the time of the shooting in the SkyTrain station issue.

Now here’s the kicker which to me: on the night of June 12, 2018, after seeing the lifeless body of 19-year-old Olivia Malcom, on the pavement between his bumper and her family’s smashed car, 42-year-old Chao Chen went back to his vehicle and threw a bottle of whiskey away. Chen admitted to having had an open bottle of whiskey with him, which he took from his vehicle before police arrived and threw away, but he said he’d only had one shot of whiskey before the crash and “adamantly” denied having been impaired.

Chen was originally charged, more than a year after the deadly crash, with impaired driving causing death and impaired driving with a blood alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death – both carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. But 12 days before he was to be in court on those charges, the crown said a new charge of dangerous driving causing death was going to happen and the other charges had been stayed. Dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Remember he killed a teenage girl!

A spokesperson for Crown counsel said they received information about the case that resulted in the original charges being stayed but they are not telling what that “information” was!

“After considering this information and conducting a full review of the investigative materials the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard on the original charges could no longer be met. In these circumstances a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action,” said Dan McLaughlin, media spokesperson for BC Prosecutors.

Judge Emmet Duncan said since Chen had denied he was impaired by alcohol, he cannot attribute the crash to that. So a judge says that he doesn’t believe the police report but a previously convicted impaired driver who threw a bottle of whiskey out his vehicle window is more believable. As an aggravating factor, Duncan noted Chen’s driving record, which included a conviction for impaired driving that led to a driving ban that expired just months before the crash that killed Malcom. Judge Duncan also noted Chen was caught driving while prohibited less than two weeks after the deadly crash. So, with Mr. Chen’s record of breaking the law, the judge still believes Chen when he said he wasn’t impaired.

My point is why do meaningless acts of stupidity and violence earn stiffer sentences than a wanton act of negligence that killed a totally innocent person? Olivia could have been the person who discovers the cure for cancer, or the next premier or better still a loving mother with a beautiful growing family, but that is not possible and the person who caused this loss is basically walking away scot-free. It’s not about this one particular case, though, it is one of the many meaningless sentences our courts are handing out in what they call justice.

I’m asking each one of you, asking everyone who believes that families that suffer because of these stupid decisions, please take the time to write to the premier and prime minister. Demand a total review of the justice system. Right now there is no justice for those affected by the courts. The whole system is not being accountable to the everyday person.

Ladysmith Chronicle