A B.C. man with almost 70 driving-related convictions avoided jail time Monday due to his declining health.
Roy Richard Henry, 47, had previously been found guilty of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and flight from a peace officer in March 2017 near Oliver, a verdict that was passed down at a trial on May 17, 2018.
He and his mother were in Duncan on Sept. 30 and appeared via video at Penticton Law Courts for his sentencing.
Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys told Judge Meg Shaw that by his calculations, Henry had 68 driving-related convictions including speeding and driving while prohibited or suspended.
While there was a nine-year gap between Henry’s most recent offence and the ones before, Vandersluys said his driving history is of great concern and “he’s not taking responsibility.” He said Henry “denies he is at fault,” to which Henry replied, “Absolutely.”
Henry interrupted Vandersluys and Shaw several times throughout the proceedings, despite his mother’s protestations. When Vandersluys asked Shaw for a 90-day conditional sentence order followed by probation, as well as a three-year driving prohibition, Henry replied, “Well that’s not fair.” And when Vandersluys went on to request that the sentence include the condition that Henry use no drugs or alcohol, Henry said, “I’m clean and sober for five years. This is absurd.”
After another interruption, Shaw said, “You know Mr. Henry, with your sarcastic remarks you’re not helping yourself any.”
“Nothing helps anyway,” he replied.
Henry also said he was “bullied by the policeman because of [his] driving record” and had not had a proper defence.
He was being represented by defence lawyer Michael Patterson at the proceedings, who made a joint submission with Vandersluys for the sentencing.
Shaw noted that Henry has “a terrible driving record” and had shown no remorse, but acknowledged the gap between his last conviction and the matter at hand. She also noted his significant health issues, which include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a failed back surgery, knee pain issues, diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder, eye problems, and currently, chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumour.
“Under other circumstances I would be looking at jail time for an offence such as the one that Mr. Henry has committed,” she said.
The joint submission, she added, “comes within the range that is acceptable” and Henry was sentenced to a CSO, commonly referred to as house arrest.
“That means, sir, you can stay in your home and not go to jail, but it’s essentially a jail sentence of 90 days.”
The terms for the CSO include being at home between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day, good behaviour, reporting to the CSO supervisor as required, sobriety, and not occupying the driver’s seat of a car.
The probation period that will follow will be nine months, with all the same terms except the curfew.
South Okanagan RCMP and BC Prosecution Service communications have declined to provide information about the nature of the March 2017 offence.
While details of the offence were not discussed during the sentencing, Henry did at one point say “I was at a stop sign.”
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