Dangerous driver gets 14 more months in jail

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on May 17, 2012
Kevin Charles Roberts (left) and his lawyer Mark Gruchy get ready for sentencing as Roberts is led into provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A St. John’s man who drove erratically through the city, weaving in and out of traffic while he was high on drugs, has been sentenced to 14 more months behind bars.

Kevin Charles Roberts was given the jail term Wednesday in provincial court in St. John’s.

Judge Colin Flynn also prohibited Roberts from driving for eight years.

Roberts pleaded guilty to several charges, including dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, impaired driving and breaching court orders.

The charges are in connection to three separate incidents, but the most serious happened in June 2011.

Around 10 p.m., police tried to stop Roberts while he was driving near Prince of Wales Street, but he refused and sped off.

Police chased him up Cashin Avenue, Ropewalk Lane and Blackmarsh Road where Roberts reached speeds of 130 km/h passing vehicles and swerving.

Police called off the chase due to safety reasons, but spotted him shortly afterwards on the west end of Blackmarsh Road, near Canada Drive. When he turned left onto Topsail Road and stopped near Greenwood Crescent, a distraught female passenger ran out of the car.

When police arrived, officers noticed a strong smell of marijuana.

He’s been in custody since.

In recommending 19 more months in jail, Crown prosecutor Bill Cadigan said Roberts’ driving is a huge concern to people in the community.

“If people heading home some night get into a head-on collision with drivers like Mr. Roberts, that would leave that person and families hung out to dry,” Cadigan said.

He went on to say, “We all have the right to drive without Mr. Roberts T-boning (us) … We have to stop him before he stops somebody else.”

Defence lawyer Mark Gruchy said Roberts wants to get his life back on track.

“Mr. Roberts is trying and is sincere in his efforts,” he said.

While he’s battled with addictions, “he’s made strides with respect to understanding his addictions” Gruchy said.

“He’s not your average man at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. He has an awareness of his problems and would love to avail of services (to continue helping him).”

When Roberts got the chance to speak, he apologized to the community, police, the court and to anyone he’s hurt by his actions.

“What I’ve done was wrong and I take full responsibility for all my actions,” the 29-year-old said.

“Nothing can take back what I have done, but I am trying hard every day to become a better person.”

He said he attends programs and is determined to get rehabilitated.

“The good that has come out of this unfortunate experience is that I have grown and learned alternative approaches to my problems,” said Roberts, who became a father last year.

“My life was far from perfect ever since adulthood, but finally I am at peace with myself and the law. … I stand before you asking you to have mercy on me.”

However, Roberts’ dealings with the law are far from over.

He has more serious charges, including arson, to contend with.

He was charged in connection with a fire that broke out at 32 Blackmarsh Rd. in June 2011.

The house was extensively damaged, but the sole female occupant of the two-apartment home escaped unharmed. RNC fire investigators determined the fire was suspicious.

Roberts is due to be arraigned on those charges June 4 in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.


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