“Racer sentenced to nine months in jail,” it said.
“Shut the front door,” I said to myself, as I searched for the name of the race car driver who’d been sent to jail for — what?
It turned out not be someone who races at Mosport or Toronto Motorsports Park or any of the many southern Ontario speedways where real racers race.
It was a report about a street race in which the defendant, who was charged with dangerous driving causing death, was sentenced to nine months but, with time served, will be back on the street in a little over six.
The original charge was criminal negligence causing death but it was dropped to driving dangerous on a plea bargain.
Nine months for racing on the street? An illegal act, in which a 20-year-old guy was killed, and probably many more people scared out of their wits at the sight of this happening?
How about 10 years?
I don’t care, as the story said, if the accused pulled out of the race early, and tried to help the mortally wounded fellow (how nice of him). Racing on a public highway is the height of selfishness, irresponsible and illegal, and somebody is dead and that is worth a lot more than nine months in my book.
Of course, I’m talking to the wind here. People are appointed to the bench in this country and then they get sent to Judge School where the emphasis in sentencing is on rehabilitation rather than revenge. Some judge somewhere along the line determined that nine months for a death caused by street racing is an appropriate penalty, and this precedent thus became the norm.
So, if some brave judge somewhere in Canada actually sentenced somebody to 10 years for committing this heinous act, it would be overturned on appeal because the law of the land says a life lost as the result of street racing isn’t worth more than nine months.
Only when an influential cabinet minister, or a member of the judiciary, loses a loved one like this will anything ever change.
Meantime, the guilty man — who, according to his lawyer, is now very involved with his church (care to bet how long that will last?) — won’t be allowed to drive legally for the next two years.
That won’t mean he won’t drive, of course. He didn’t care about the law this time; who’s to say he’ll care about it in the future?