So week before last was the court date for the truck into our home incident from june '09.
It started at about 11am on the 19th when I got called up to the witness chair (I was the first witness of trial). I was so nervous that I was just shaking like crazy (even had the judge make a joke to try and get me to calm down). The crown prosecutor (Lianne) was really nice (nicer than anyone else who has handled the case from that office that we have encountered) and the cross examination wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be. It was about an hour and then I was allowed to take a seat in the courtroom.
Then it was Aarons chance and the defence attorney got hung up on the fact that Aaron used "they" in his statement. It is something he does on occasion to refer to the singular as opposed to the plural like most people use it. It eventually took the judge stepping in because no matter how many times Aaron explained that fact, the defense lawyer kept trying to put words in Aarons mouth.
That took us to about 1pm and I was just such a wreck that we decided to just go home as opposed to staying the rest of the day.
The next morning though we both woke up and decided that we wanted to be there for the rest of the trial. It was interesting to be able to hear the bits of the case that we weren't allowed to really know about before. Stuff like the blood evidence (they took a blood sample from the driver at the hospital to test for alcohol impairment) and it being thrown out of court (the RCMP officer had to hold the phone for the driver so he could talk to legal aid). Also how the driver no longer was saying it was his long lost buddy "Troy" driving as opposed to him.
Ends up that the driver told the ambulance attendant that he had "12 beers" and started at that point saying it was "Troy" who was driving. His attorney kept trying to prove that there wasn't enough evidence that he was the driver and even if there was enough evidence that there wasn't enough evidence to prove he was drunk. The driver got on the stand at the end of the day and just said that he didn't remember anything around the accident, and that he didn't even know a Troy.
Lianne was like a pitbull though. At one point she painted a picture that pointed towards the driver remembering everything because he never did anything to figure out what happened in the days after the accident. I had never thought about it like that but it made sense. If the first thing I remembered was calling for a ride home from the hospital and only being told that my truck was driven into a residence I would try to piece together what had happened. A reasonable person would have talked to ppl who they remembered being around in the hours leading up to the accident and would have at least tried to find out if anyone else had been injured (or killed) in the accident.
At the end of the day though the judge said he would be ready to give his ruling in the morning.
Aaron and I were there first thing when the courthouse opened. We listened as the judge said that due to the testimony of the three civilian witnesses (myself, Aaron and the elderly gentleman who lived across the street at the time of the accident) that it was enough to prove that the guy was driving. Due to the testimony of the RCMP officers and the ambulance attendant that it was enough to prove that he was drunk. I almost started crying at that point.
Then there was a small break cause they couldn't find his ICBC driving record (ICBC is insurance here in BC which is supposedly different than in the states but I couldn't begin to explain how). It was during this break that we were asked if we wanted to say anything to the judge because we didn't have our victim impact statements done because we were expecting a bit of time between the judges ruling and sentencing. I decided I did want to and Aaron decided he didn't want to.
So I got to stand there and speak to the specifics of how the accident has affected us. How I still have panic attacks to this date, how we were unable to come back home for three months and how even now we have a sense of loss of safety in our home. It wasn't as much that I needed the judge to hear it as I needed the DRIVER to hear it. We also got to hear about how on 3 occasions BEFORE the accident he was caught drinking and driving and how since the accident he has been caught once drinking and driving.
His drivers report was three freaking pages long and they only go back 10yrs. This guy is 35-36yrs old (same age as Aaron) and on top of the drinking and driving he had lack of due care and failure to drive with due diligence. I mean I have only known one person who got the diligence one and that was because he was caught doing donuts in an intersection one night (fucking idiot I know but it gives you an idea of what lvl of stupidity you need to be charged with that one).
So the sentence? One year no driving and $1300 fine. I know it doesn't sound like much but the max fine for a first time offence is only $2000 and one year no driving. After 3 months he can pay to have the Breathalyzer installed in your vehicle and you have to breathe into it every 10 minutes and to be able to start your vehicle but that all runs a couple thousand dollars here. Add to that he now will most likely have to face the couple of civil suits coming his way. ICBC will guaranteed go after him for everything they had to pay out, his insurance premiums will skyrocket and his truck which they refused to repair till the outcome of the criminal case (and because he was found guilty of drinking and driving makes his insurance at the time of the accident null and void).