Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Speeding driver who killed boy claims he was wrongfully convicted
A speeding motorist who had alcohol in his body when he struck and killed a 12-year-old boy claims he has been wrongfully convicted of a crime.
Pernell Guimond appeared before the Manitoba Court of Appeal Tuesday, arguing he shouldn't be held liable because he had no way of knowing about the pedestrian in his path and thought it was safe to pass a slower vehicle when he saw no oncoming traffic. He claims he should have only been found guilty of a Highway Traffic Act violation.
The high court has reserved its decision.
Guimond was convicted last year of dangerous driving causing death for the August 2006 crash at Sagkeeng First Nation. He was given a two-year conditional sentence, which allows him to remain free in the community. The Crown had sought real custody, but did not appeal the penalty.
Brent Guimond -- no relation -- died of massive trauma after being hit while walking along the main highway through the community, 145 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. A young female friend, who was with the boy at the time, escaped injury. They were on the poorly lit road because they were afraid of bears lurking in the nearby woods, the judge was told. The girl was in the middle of the road and Guimond swerved to avoid hitting her, only to strike the boy, who was closer to the shoulder of the highway.
Guimond had been travelling west on Highway 11, stuck behind a van. He started to pull around the van -- into the oncoming lane -- when the two young pedestrians appeared in his headlights, their backs to Guimond's car.
His case made headlines earlier this year after a Free Press investigation revealed he admitted to drinking, smelled of booze and failed two roadside screening tests following the fatal crash. By the time Guimond went to trial, all alcohol-related charges had disappeared. A provincial court judge ruled the alcohol evidence inadmissible based on problems with the way police collected it at the scene, including a lack of detailed notes about important conversations.
What this man did (passing a vehicle and killing the boy) is a mistake anybody could have made and he should not be criminalized. He should be acquitted completely. It was dark and he probably didn't see the boy until the last minute, when it was too late to slam on the brakes.