A sentencing hearing for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 30, is to begin Jan. 28. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Remorse will resonate in sentencing of driver in Broncos crash: legal expert

A legal expert says she would be astounded if a judge handed the maximum sentence to a semi-truck driver who has pleaded guilty to all 29 charges stemming from a devastating collision with a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty in Melfort, Sask., court Tuesday to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

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 Sidhu, 30, is to begin Jan. 28.

Jennifer Quaid, who teaches law at the University of Ottawa, said the overwhelming scale of last spring’s tragedy isn’t the only factor the sentencing judge will have to weigh.

“Yes, it’s an extremely serious accident and there are multiple counts. There’s one for each victim,” she said. “But he is also a first-time offender. He’s young.”

It’s impossible to know the full calculus that went into Sidhu’s decision to plead guilty rather than make his case at trial, said Quaid, who added that she can’t see a scenario where Sidhu avoids prison time entirely.

It could well be that upon seeing the Crown’s evidence against him, his defence decided it was not worth facing trial, she suggested. Heightened emotions and intense media scrutiny also may have made him loathe to draw things out.

Sidhu’s lawyer, Mark Brayford, said Tuesday 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’ families.

Quaid said Sidhu’s remorse is likely to be a factor at sentencing.

“That’s something that will resonate. That’s going to be up to the judge to assess the sincerity and credibility of the remorse.”

Quaid added the judge will probably acknowledge Sidhu’s actions weren’t the only factors in the crash, given concerns have been raised about visibility at the rural intersection near Tisdale, Sask., where the crash occurred.

The owner of the Calgary trucking company that hired Sidhu also faces several charges related to federal and provincial safety regulations in the months before the crash.

“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, to workers with little to no training,” Quaid said.

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

Just Posted

Lacombe council seeking answers about policing cost overruns

Council surprised to find out about $240,000 policing budget shortfall

Red Deer fundraiser to help educate Somali orphans on May 11

The Mother’s Day event is for all ages

These blues will get you dancing: The Overdue Blues Band performs in Red Deer Saturday

Calgary’s Brother Ray Lemelin Band is also on Elks Lodge bill

Gardening: Time and effort key to buying garden plants

Greenhouses, garden centers and box stores are set to start selling bedding… Continue reading

Montreal native Nicholas Latifi off to solid start on Formula 2 race circuit

Practice makes perfect for Canadian Nicholas Latifi. The 23-year-old Montreal auto racer… Continue reading

Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup

TORONTO — Many NHL players were either not yet born or too… Continue reading

Swole, buzzy, among new words in Merriam-Webster dictionary

BOSTON — Get swole, prepare a bug-out bag, grab a go-cup and… Continue reading

Garner graces cover of People’s annual ‘Beautiful Issue’

NEW YORK — Jennifer Garner graces the front of this year’s “Beautiful… Continue reading

Updated: Joshua Arthur Sanford has been found, says RCMP

37-year-old Ponoka man last seen on Tuesday morning

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Most Read