• Scott Newman

Drunk driver let off 'EASY'... and in this case, I applaud the judge's decision

Source: (paywall)

Decision date: January 2014 - Winnipeg, MB

Clint Flett drove drunk and badly injured not just himself, but also the wife he adores and a family friend.

A judge has refused to send him to jail for it.

And it was the right thing to do.


It must be said: In drunk driving cases where injuries result, the typical — but not binding — range in sentencing is three to 18 months of real jail. Conditional sentences are no longer available.

The issue in Flett's case was whether anything less than a jail stint would suffice if "exceptional circumstances" existed to allow him a lighter sentence.

And yes, Roller said. They do. If he goes to jail, she said, that circumstance causes harm to his wife and kids because they'll have to now fend for themselves in an already tough environment.

Roller imposed upon Flett a $4,000 fine plus three years of supervised probation. Given his limited means, he'll have to work off the fine in his community. Roller also barred him from driving in Canada for two years.

"To decide otherwise would have the very real effect of visiting the consequences of his criminal error on his family," Roller said. "And they would have to find other ways to get their challenging and unique needs met," she said.

"Your family obviously needs you, Mr. Flett. It is your obligation to make sure this is the first and last time you commit a crime that may take you away from them."

To me, it's pretty clear in Flett's case that Roller saw the aftershocks were likely to just cause more harm to a community that's already suffering.

And as hard as it may be for some to swallow, I say we should be lauding her for that.

Doing what's right isn't at all the same as doing what's popular.

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