May 12, 2014 - MOM CALLS SENTENCE FOR DRUNK DRIVER THAT KILLED SON, 'RIDICULOUS' [Brandon Thomas]

Kim Thomas, holding a photo of her son Brandon Thomas, 17, who was killed by drunk driver Ryan Gibson in 2012, is outraged by the two-years and eight-month sentence handed down on Monday. “Because of impaired driving, people are losing their lives and families have to live without their children, brothers or sisters. If we keep with these ridiculous sentences, it’s not going to stop,” she said.

There was minimal satisfaction for a mother on Monday when a judge sentenced a drunk driver to two years and eight months in prison — rejecting a two-year joint submission by lawyers — for a horrific head-on crash that killed her 17-year-old son.

“How do you bargain with life?” a sobbing Kim Thomas said outside court after provincial court Judge Karim Jivraj read his reasons for the higher-than-proposed prison term for Ryan Jordan Gibson regarding the deadly crash on Highway 22 south of Cochrane on Dec. 6, 2012. “I was always against the two-year sentence, but I also knew that was a possibility.

“Because of impaired driving, people are losing their lives and families have to live without their children, brothers or sisters. If we keep with these ridiculous sentences, it’s not going to stop. Brandon’s (high school) graduation would be coming up at the end of the month, and how do I do that? Yesterday was also Mother’s Day and I sat at his memorial wishing he was with us.”

Gibson, 24, had previously pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing the death of Brandon Thomas and impaired driving causing injuries to Kelly-Anne McGillis in a separate collision moments earlier. The judge gave him six months concurrent for impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner said outside court that he and Crown prosecutor Ron Simenik, who admitted he had some issues proving his case against Gibson, sent extensive reasons to justify their position after the judge indicated that the joint offering was insufficient.

“It’s not a surprise,” Hepner said outside court. “We will deal with the additional eight months that the judge imposed, deal with it in the appropriate fashion.”

Jivraj said the majority of cases in the two-year range dealt with victims who had chosen to get into a vehicle with a driver knowing the driver had consumed alcohol. But this was “more egregious,” he added. ”Brandon made no such choice.”

“This was a drunk driver who drove on the wrong side of the road after passing two trucks, made no attempt to avoid oncoming traffic and, after striking two vehicles and forcing them off the road, continued to drive on the wrong side until he collided head on with another vehicle,” the judge said.

“The offences committed by the accused are grave. The manner in which he drove his vehicle is particularly egregious. While he clearly did not intend to kill anyone, it was his choices he made — to consume an extreme amount of alcohol that evening and to get behind the wheel that resulted in Brandon’s death — that bears a higher degree of culpability.”

Gibson, who had a blood-alcohol level double the ,08 driving limit, was also prohibited from driving for four years after his release. The lawyers had agreed there should be a five-year ban, but the judge cut off a year.

Gibson had given a heartfelt apology to the victims’ families at the sentencing hearing last month, which Hepner said was genuine.

Source: The Calgary Herald


 

Last updated on: 2014-05-13 | Link to this post