Technicality keeps repeat impaired driver out of jail — for now
A man denied a postponement on being sentenced for impaired driving-related offences Thursday ended up having his case set over anyway due to a technicality.
Bath told the court that if he went to prison now, his employer and his employer’s clients would suffer. Bath works as a surveyor for a contracting company, and does odd jobs on the weekend on his own.
His lawyer, Kenneth Hollett, even produced a letter from the employer supporting Bath’s position.
Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten, however, opposed the request. He said the charges are serious and needed to be dealt with, and noted Bath has pulled the same stunt in the past.
Patten said Bath was granted a number of postponements since March and thus has had four months to get his personal matters in order.
A pre-sentence report has already been prepared in the case.
Bath took the witness stand Thursday to plead his case for another postponement.
“I haven’t drank since going to court last year,” Bath told Judge Jim Walsh.
“The jobs at work are booked a year in advance and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Work is going crazy this year.”
Bath added he had to try to lease or rent his house while he’s in jail, and get someone to take care of his dog.
Walsh wasn’t impressed.
He noted the case was first transferred from Gander provincial court to St. John’s last March to be resolved, with Bath pleading guilty to a couple of the charges at that time.
He told Bath he should have had things in order by now and be ready to accept his sentence.
Bath said he works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week, and with his own odd jobs on the weekends, it has been difficult to find time to get personal things done. On top of that, he said, he has a heart condition.
“I’m not hearing good enough reasons not to proceed,” Walsh said.
The judge then instructed Patten to begin to deal with the charges and sentencing.
While going through the charges, however, one of the information sheets did not have the date of the offence written on it.
“No date … so we have a problem,” Walsh said.
The judge noted there were two ways to deal with it. One, the Crown withdraws the charges on that particular information sheet or, two, the case gets postponed.
Patten said the Crown would not withdraw the charges.
“Mr. Bath, it’s your lucky day,” Walsh said.
The case has now been set over to Nov. 21 for facts and sentencing. Walsh reminded Bath he is not permitted to operate any motor vehicle while awaiting sentencing.
Bath left the court in a hurry.