An Alberta man will serve an additional year and four months behind bars for causing the death and serious injury of two young Williams Lake men.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Patrice Abrioux gave Kurtis James Roby, now 23, of Grande Prairie, Alta. a four-and-a-half year sentence in Williams Lake court Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failure to stop and render assistance and doing so to avoid criminal and civil liability earlier in the week. Roby was also given a five-year driving prohibition to start upon his release.
The charges stem from an incident June 24, 2013 where Roby was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle speeding excessively before losing control and crashing off of the Chimney Lake Road, then fleeing the scene.
Joseph Morey, 21 at the time, was left with serious injuries while Kyle Vigeant, also 21 at the time, died on scene.
“The courts don’t seem to care,” said Kyle’s father, Cyril. “It’s a shame in the last two trials of this nature in this town (the offender) got off on such a light sentence … I was expecting this but it’s not what I wanted. There’s nothing you can do now but just go on.”
Because Roby has been in custody since the incident two years ago he will be credited with one-and-a-half the time served (or three years and 71 days) and will therefore serve an equivalent of one year and four months longer in prison.
Crown prosecutor Sabena Thompson was seeking a four- to five-year jail sentence, while defence lawyer Geneviéve Eliany, meanwhile, argued for a time-served sentence.
“It doesn’t show any justice,” Cyril said after the ruling. “It shows me the criminals have more rights than the victims and the victims’ families. It has to be changed, even if we have to get a hold of politicians to make it happen.”
Prior to sentencing, court heard how Roby, who didn’t have a license at the time of the crash, and another passenger in the vehicle fled the scene on foot shortly after midnight before stealing a white Toyota pickup truck from a nearby residence.
They then travelled back to Williams Lake where they were later apprehended by police near the Tourism Discovery Centre after again attempting to flee.
A fifth passenger in the vehicle stayed behind to tend to Morey’s injuries, however, both were uncooperative with police. Vigeant was later found deceased 50 metres from the scene with the help of a police dog.
Court also heard alcohol was consumed by the group, however, no exact amount could be determined.
Cyril said he thinks the criminal justice system needs to be revamped, all the way back to the Young Offender’s Act.
In sentencing, Justice Abrioux said he has no doubt Roby’s offences are at a high level of seriousness, but added no matter what sentence he imposed, everyone loses.
He did note that Roby’s apology to the victims’ families during sentencing was a mitigating factor.
“It may [have been] the case Roby was influenced [to drive],” he said.
“But the fact remains he made the decision to drive from the campsite [at Chimney Lake]. I do accept Mr. Roby is genuinely remorseful for what occurred.”
Following the decision, family and friends of Kyle gathered outside the Williams Lake courthouse to show each other their support, with Cyril saying he was very grateful for the support he and his family have received throughout the ordeal.