Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Criminal

Driver's guilty plea in Humboldt crash demonstrates 'remorse': Hicks

A semi-truck driver's guilty plea to all 29 charges stemming from a devastating collision with a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team will be a significant factor in his sentencing, Toronto criminal lawyer Christopher Hicks tells AdvocateDaily.com. Read CTV

“The plea of guilty is extremely important here. It has always been seen as a mitigating factor. It saves the community the time, expense, and effort of prosecuting the matter,” says Hicks, partner with Hicks Adams LLP.  “But here, it saves the families from the experience of having to relive these events — losing their loved ones all over again or seeing them get injured. It’s a really emotional thing."

The driver pleaded guilty in Melfort, Sask., to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

“It would have been a fairly lengthy trial, and by pleading guilty, it shows contrition and remorse. It’s good for the families to reach a conclusion in their lives and be able to move on," Hicks says, adding that he expects a prison sentence of about 10 years.

He says the conclusion of the trial will also be important for the tens of thousands of Canadians who expressed an outpouring of support in the days and weeks following the crash.

Hicks cites the #PutYourSticksOut campaign, in which hockey sticks were left on front porches across the country in tribute to those affected by the tragedy.

“I have three boys who are away in the [United] States playing hockey, and I told them I put three sticks on the porch for them and they were really happy and grateful about that,” he says.

“And there were sticks on porches across the nation for the people of Humboldt. So it’s good, not just for the families directly involved, but for so many Canadians who responded in such an admirable way, showing solidarity and a sense of community.”

The Canadian Press (CP) reports that the maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death is 14 years. It's 10 years for dangerous driving causing bodily harm. A sentencing hearing for the 30-year-old man is to begin Jan. 28.

His lawyer, Mark Brayford, told CP that his client didn't want to make things worse by having a trial and that he's devastated by the grief he's caused the victims.

Jennifer Quaid, who teaches law at the University of Ottawa, told the national news agency that the judge will probably acknowledge the man's actions weren't the only factors in the crash, given concerns that have been raised about visibility at the rural intersection near Tisdale, Sask., at the time the crash occurred.

The Calgary trucking company that owned the truck also faces several charges, laid in the months before the crash, related to federal and provincial safety regulations.

"This young man fits into an unfortunate pattern that we see with catastrophic events in the workplace: that (they) are disproportionately something that happens to young workers, to workers who are new to the job,'' Quaid told CP.

"Those are all factors that will play in the sentencing phase and will tend to mitigate the sentence."

To Read More Christopher Hicks Posts Click Here
Lawyer Directory
NearZeroToronto Lawyers Association (post to 6.30.19)MKD International (post until Sept. 30/19)Feldstein Family Law (post until May 31/19)Lexop SJO Legal Koster Consulting & AssociatesLee & Associates (post until Feb. 28/20)