Higher fine, pro­ba­tion im­posed

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Province - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF news@cb­post.com

Hav­ing ini­tially re­jected a joint sen­tenc­ing rec­om­men­da­tion that he termed a farce, pro­vin­cial court Judge Alain Bé­gin im­posed a higher fine and a re­duced pro­ba­tion pe­riod Tues­day for a Syd­ney man who pleaded guilty to im­paired driv­ing.

Bé­gin im­posed the sen­tence on Gor­don Louis Mac­Don­ald, 30, who had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to driv­ing with a blood/al­co­hol level ex­ceed­ing the le­gal limit.

The judge or­dered Mac­Don­ald pay a fine of $2,460 and com­plete a one-year pro­ba­tion pe­riod. He had his driv­ing priv­i­leges sus­pended for two years last De­cem­ber when he en­tered a guilty plea to the charge.

Pros­e­cu­tor Steve Mel­nick and de­fence lawyer Christa Thompson had of­fered a joint rec­om­men­da­tion of two years pro­ba­tion and one day in jail served by Mac­Don­ald’s ap­pear­ance in court.

The rec­om­men­da­tion was re­jected by Bé­gin who de­scribed it as a farce and that it would do lit­tle to de­ter the ac­cused from com­mit­ting such an of­fence in the fu­ture.

Mac­Don­ald recorded a sim­i­lar con­vic­tion eight years ago.

Pros­e­cu­tor Christa MacKin­non and de­fence lawyer Christa Thompson ap­peared be­fore Bé­gin on Tues­day ar­gu­ing he ac­cept the ini­tial rec­om­men­da­tion.

In his de­ci­sion, Bé­gin said he stands by his com­ments from the Jan. 6 hear­ing adding he con­tin­ues to feel the orig­i­nal rec­om­men­da­tion was not an ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence.

He said crimes of drink­ing and driv­ing have a far greater im­pact on so­ci­ety than most other of­fences not­ing four peo­ple a day are killed in Canada as a re­sult of drink­ing and driv­ing.

“Drink­ing and driv­ing is a crime, not an er­ror in judg­ment,” said the judge, adding such of­fend­ers have no right to gam­ble with the lives of oth­ers driv­ing on road­ways.

He said fines should be a hard­ship for of­fend­ers as a way to de­ter a re­peat of­fence adding he is not con­vinced Mac­Don­ald has learned his les­son.

In tak­ing a breath­a­lyzer test, Mac­Don­ald pro­duced read­ings of 220, 230 and 250 — well over the le­gal limit of 80.

Among the con­di­tions of his pro­ba­tion, Mac­Don­ald is to re­frain from al­co­hol and take all as­sess­ments and coun­selling as rec­om­mended by his pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer. He is also to sub­mit to uri­nal­y­sis test­ing.

“Drink­ing and driv­ing is a crime, not an er­ror in judg­ment.”

Judge Alain Bé­gin

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