Higher fine, probation imposed
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