Angry father interrupts apology at sentencing

‘Losing my son Jordan was the worst thing that could ever happen to me’

Jordan Gahan is shown in this undated family handout photo. The grieving father of a young man who died in a workplace accident in Fort McMurray interrupted an apology from one of the owners today who had pleaded guilty in his death. Jordan Gahan, who was 21, was operating heavy equipment in 2014 when his excavator fell through the ice into four metres of water. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Gaham Family *MANDATORY CREDIT*

CALGARY — The grieving father of a young man who died in a workplace accident in Alberta’s oilsands region interrupted a courtroom apology Friday from one of the owners of a company that pleaded guilty in the death.

Jordan Gahan, who was 21 and from Fredericton, was operating heavy equipment at a Suncor pit that was being reclaimed near Fort McMurray when his excavator fell through ice into four metres of water. His co-workers were able to get him to the surface, but he died in hospital.

Brayford Trucking Ltd. pleaded guilty to two of five charges under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to protect Gahan as an employee.

“There’s no words or actions or anything that can possibly express to you how sorry we are and you no longer have your son. We can’t even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that’s associated with losing a child,” co-owner Susan Brayford said in a statement to the court Friday.

“We’re so very, very sorry.”

Brayford was interrupted by Paul Gahan.

“I apologize to the court, but it’s just too much,” he yelled.

Judge Harry Van Harten allowed Gahan to address the court, but with a warning.

“I totally appreciate how difficult a day this is for you, but it is for everyone that’s here,” he said. “I’m happy to hear what you have to say. Just do it in a respectful way please.”

Gahan said he appreciated that the Brayfords had “stepped up to the plate” and changed their safety policies.

“It’s sad that it has to come at the cost of my dear son. On March 14, 2014, I was sentenced to … basically life in prison with no chance of parole until I die. I was sentenced by the incompetence and the capabilities that didn’t follow procedures properly,” Gahan said.

Six pictures of his son were placed in the courtroom to give the family comfort. Leica Gahan, Jordan’s mother, said she didn’t want to believe the RCMP when they told her that he had died.

“I begged and pleaded with the RCMP that they had made a mistake. They made no mistake. Our son was gone and our hearts were broken,” she said.

“I know that grieving for Jordan will last a lifetime. I will grieve for him until the day we are reunited in heaven. Losing my son Jordan was the worst thing that could ever happen to me in my 50 years on this earth.”

The court imposed a fine of $100,000 as well as two years of corporate probation under the Criminal Code.

“It was a meaningless and preventable death,” said Van Harten.

But there are mitigating factors, including changes to safety measures at the company and the plea of guilty, he added.

Van Harten also noted there was also a personal apology and expression of sorrow from the Brayfords, whom he described as “conscientious contributing citizens of the community.”

“The Brayfords are clearly not hiding behind the corporate shield as they might legally be allowed to do. Unlike some corporations … this company is not going to pay a penalty and move on and consider the penalty the simple cost of doing business.”

Just Posted

Accused murderer’s story questioned

Jason Klaus spends day being cross-examined by lawyer for co-accused Joshua Frank

Red Deer Royals extend fundraising deadline for St. Joseph fieldhouse project

Fundraising chair says it’s a tough slog raising money in this economy

Red Deer seeks public input on coming changes to sign bylaw

A half-kilometre buffer zone could separate billboards in Red Deer under proposed… Continue reading

Innisfail man injured in home invasion

Police say the injury was non life-threatening

Credentials questioned man at Remembrance Day services

Veterans are crying foul after an alleged faker posed as a former… Continue reading

VIDEO: Red Deerians taste what the city has to offer

Red Deerians sampled some of the finest foods Central Alberta restaurants have… Continue reading

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month