Handed a two-year-and-four-month sentence for a fatal hit and run, a New Brunswick man asked for his sentence to be longer.
Sporting new defence counsel, Brent Robert Cameron, 27, formerly of Saint John, N.B., sat in the prisoner’s box wearing a black sweater with a collared shirt underneath.
Cameron is convicted of failing to remain at the scene of a collision and mischief, for providing a false report to police. He was sentenced Monday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench to 26 months jail by Justice John Little. Due to his pre-sentence custody credit, he has one year and four months left to serve.
Paul Gabriel Bertin, 18, was killed in a collision on the Taylor Bridge at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2012. His body was found in the northbound lanes.
“Paul will be a name I never forget,” said Cameron while apologizing to the Bertin family.
RCMP witnesses said Cameron had reported his vehicle stolen later in the day and that it was found damaged and abandoned on a side street in Riverside Meadows, blocks from the scene of the collision.
Little said he was originally going to sentence Cameron to 28 months in custody, but reduced the sentence to 26 months after hearing Cameron address the court and show remorse for his actions.
Cameron asked for his sentence to be longer so he could do his time at a federal correctional facility and take advantage of the better mental health and educational programs.
Little did not increase his sentence or reduce Cameron’s pre-sentence custody credit. Instead he agreed to sign a recommendation that Cameron serve his time in a federal correctional facility.
During his time at the Red Deer Remand Centre, a provincial correctional institution, Aloneissi said Cameron was triple-bunked in a cell intended for two inmates for a few months.
Cameron teared up as he listened to Mike Bertin read his victim impact statement.
Mike, Paul’s father, called the incident a tragedy for his family and Cameron’s. He said both families will always have the tragic memory of this incident, but Cameron gets to continue with life, while Paul does not.
Mike talked about how he had to call all of Paul’s siblings and break the bad news, trying his best to convey the anguish and sadness in his conversations the evening they were told about Paul’s death.
The Alberta Sheriff assigned to the court room passed facial tissues to both Cameron and Mike during the reading of the victim impact statements.
Opening his address to the court, defence counsel Bob Aloneissi turned to Paul Bertin’s family with an apology on behalf of Cameron. Paul’s family took up a row of seats in the court house.
Aloneissi said Cameron was very sorry for their loss.
Then Aloneissi turned to the incident on Oct. 6, 2012, and talked about how Paul climbed over the barrier that separates the pedestrian walkway from the road and put himself in harms way.
He conceded that Cameron failed to act properly when he fled the scene.
Crown attorney Wayne Silliker said Paul was alive right after the crash and the criminality came when Cameron left the scene, leaving Paul to die.
Silliker sought a sentence of two-and-a-half to three years in custody for Cameron as well as a three-year driving prohibition and an order to provide a sample of his DNA.
Aloneissi countered that Cameron had already served the equivalent of one year in custody at the Red Deer Remand Centre and that was enough. He was re-arrested on Jan. 26, 2015 and has been in continuous custody since then. Taking into account the one-to-one-and-a-half credit for pre-sentence custody afforded to accused persons this would equal about a year. Aloneissi also suggested a period of probation, a one year driving prohibition and consented to the DNA order.
Little settled a two-year driving prohibition for Cameron in his sentence.
Cameron originally stood trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench from Jan. 13 to 16. Mid-trial, just before closing arguments, he did not attend court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was re-arrested on Jan. 26. Cameron was convicted on June 5 at the trial’s continuation, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for July 22. At that hearing before, defence counsel Glen Allen of Wetaskiwin informed the court that he would withdraw as counsel of record and Aloneissi would take over.