Family baffled by judge’s sentence in Gentles case

Shock and disbelief. Those are words Andrea MacDonald used to describe her family’s reaction to the sentence Martin Gentles received.

Shock and disbelief.

Those are words Andrea MacDonald used to describe her family’s reaction to the sentence Martin Gentles received in the case involving the death of her 20-year-old daughter Rayel three years ago.

“What this judge has done is basically to say while you are impaired you really can’t be held responsible for anything you do,” she said minutes after Gentles was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Williams Lake Wednesday. “I think it has put drinking driving laws back 50 years.”

Gentles, 30, was found guilty of driving while over the legal blood alcohol limit and fleeing the scene of an accident and not rendering assistance after the vehicle he was driving struck and killed Rayel and seriously injured Alysha Mullett as the two friends walked across Carson Drive on April 22, 2012 after attending the Rodeo Dance.

Crown counsellor Julie Dufour asked for a three- to three-and-a-half-year sentence, a one-year prohibition from driving and a secondary DNA test order.

Defence lawyer Ken Walker asked for a conditional sentence to be served in the community, and higher than normal fines, noting Gentles is the sole supporter of his family.

Gentles received an eight-month conditional sentence, one-year probation, a one-year driving prohibition and a $1,500 fine.

“Our beautiful daughter’s life has not been valued by this judge,” she said. “We feel re-victimized … I don’t feel very proud to be Canadian right now.”

Before the sentencing MacDonald and her daughter, Rilla-Lee, gave emotional victim impact statements describing the pain of their loss.

“My husband Dave and I are living a nightmare,” MacDonald told the court. “Our family died along with Rayel. Our hearts are still beating but we are shells of our former selves.”

Sobbing, Rilla-Lee said she will never get over her sister’s death.

“The loss of a person so fully a part of yourself and who you are is completely unfathomable and I feel like I’ve lost a limb.”

In a statement read by Walker, Gentles said he felt so much regret and wished he would have been able to change the outcome.

“Above all else I know what I did was wrong. It is not the person I want to become, nor is it the kind of example I want to set for my son.”

Gentles recounted a troubled upbringing, coming from a bad childhood environment.

“It has been a constant struggle,” he said. “My mother passed away when I was almost 20 years old, leaving me essentially homeless, working several jobs and dealing with major amounts of grief.”

Later when Justice John D. Truscott asked Gentles if he wanted to say something to the family directly, he stood facing the judge and said quietly if he could take back that night he would.

“I deeply impacted the family and my family. Nothing I can do will ever change that.”

In her victim impact statement made before Gentles’ statement was read, Andrea said her struggle every day has been made worse by the realization there has been no apology and no sadness expressed by Gentles.

“I’ve been saddened by the lack of character the accused has shown toward us and toward Rayel. Someone who is of honour would have never put our family through this,” she said.

Rayel’s death was completely senseless, she added.

“Why didn’t anyone stop them from driving that night? Their friends, anyone at the bar that night, had the power to change the outcome. If they had stopped the accused and his passenger, our beautiful daughter Rayel would still be here on this earth doing what she did the best, loving and giving to others.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 president David Brideau salutes the Cenotaph at city hall during a past Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Monday, Nov. 11. Brideau, who served three years with the Canadian military in Edmonton, was the parade commander during the Legion’s Remembrance Day service. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake legion looks to upgrade lounge, patio, to be COVID compliant

Upgrades will require significant financial investment, Branch 139 president David Brideau said

Williams Lake’s Daine Dubois (left) and 150 Mile House’s Isaac Bedford have been named as recipients of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport. (Tribune file photos)
Two Cariboo athletes honoured with Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport

“You have honoured the province, your nations, and your families.”

A worker at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
B.C. Mining Month celebrates innovation

Mining has long been important to the Williams Lake economy

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read