Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos faces several convictions


After pleading guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving, all eyes will be on the conviction of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver charged in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

On Tuesday, in a court in Melfort, Sidhu pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving, causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving, causing bodily harm.

Put simply, said a law expert, there is no such case in the country because of the large number of victims involved and the huge loss caused by the collision.

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On April 6, 2018, en route to a game, the team bus crashed into a junction with the truck Sidhu was driving. Sixteen people, including 10 Bronco players, were killed and 13 others injured.

His sentence is set to begin on January 28, with three to five days reserved for the vast number of victim impact statements that will be filed in court.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu leaves the provincial court in Melfort, Sask., Tuesday, January 8, 2019. Sidhu, the driver of a transportation truck involved in a fatal accident with the Humboldt Broncos bus, pleaded guilty to all accusations against him. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Kayle Neis

It will be a precedent case for all the wrong reasons, and incredibly difficult for the judge, said the criminal defense attorney Brian Pfefferle.

"This is a very difficult task because what the public expects and the justice system is capable of doing are two different and distinct things," he said. Pfefferle, who is not involved in the case.

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According to Sidhu's lawyer, his client asked voluntarily, and although Sidhu could not improve things for the families, he did not want to make them worse by going to trial.

"Sentence is often considered an individualized process, but judges use other cases to formulate their positions, and this is a case that will in many ways be unlike any other." Pfefferle added.

The wreckage of a fatal bus accident carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team outside of Tisdale, Sask., Is seen on April 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward

There are no cases of such magnitude in the country that the council can draw on in terms of ranges of sentences or recommendations, he said.

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In 2017, the semi-truck driver Normand Lavoie was sentenced to three years after killing three teenagers from the Carrot River, who were stopped in a construction zone.

It was said that the professional truck driver was on the "autopilot" when he did the rear, and was later revealed in court that he suffered from sleep apnea.

According Pfefferle, the number of deaths associated with such an accident may result in a higher sentence, but we still need to hear the mitigating factors in that case.

"There is a very wide range here that the court would be considering," Pfefferle said. "Probably anywhere under 18 months up to meaningful penitentiary sentences."

Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert.

The maximum sentence for a single dangerous driving count that causes death is 14 years, and the maximum sentence for driving dangerously, causing bodily harm, is 10 years.

In general, I saidPfefferle, he has seen offenders in Saskatchewan sentenced to up to four years in the penitentiary by a single dangerous driving count causing death, and 90 days imprisoned for bodily harm.

Sidhu remains on bail until his sentence, and for some of the 29 families directly touched by this tragedy, no sentence will be long enough to be satisfactory.

"The court really is not prepared to face the tragedy and the loss here" Pfefferle explained.

"It is not the court's ability to really resolve this. It is to assess the situation and arrive at an impartial and impartial resolution that addresses the moral culpability and moral censorship of the particular offender."

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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