A driver who struck and killed a woman and her three young daughters nearly two years ago “gambled with other people’s lives” when he took the wheel, an Ontario judge said Monday in sentencing him to 17 years behind bars.
Brady Robertson‘s “cavalier attitude” towards driving laws called out for a significant sentence, Ontario Court Justice Sandra Caponecchia told a Brampton, Ont., court.
Robertson had accumulated 15 driving infractions in the 2 1/2 years before the June 18, 2020 crash in Brampton that killed Karolina Ciasullo and her daughters Klara, Lilianna and Mila, who were between the ages of six and one.
Just two days earlier, on June 16, Robertson had failed to stop at an intersection and crashed into a barrier, the judge said. As a result of the impact, he was “jolted out of his slumber,” and sped away to evade police, she said. The fact that no one was hurt in that incidence is “pure happenstance,” the judge said.
Robertson was not deterred by any previous penalties for his driving, and the June 16 crash did not serve as a “wake up call,” as it should have, Caponecchia said.
“I have avoided calling both crashes an accident. That is because both were anything but an accident; both crashes were crimes, not accidents,” she said.
“Both crimes were 100 per cent avoidable, had Mr. Robertson had any regard for the lives and safety of others.”
Robertson, 21, will receive nearly three years in credit for time already served awaiting trial, bringing the total down to 14 years and two months.
His sentence relates to both crashes and includes a driving ban spanning 20 years beyond his release.
Prosecutors sought a 23-year prison sentence and a lifetime driving ban. The defence, meanwhile, argued Robertson should be sentenced to seven years.
Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the June 18, 2020 crash.
Karolina Ciasullo, 37, is pictured with her daughters – Klara, 6, Lilianna, 4, and Mila, 1. The four died on June 18, 2020 after the vehicle they were travelling in was struck by another vehicle in Brampton. (Source / Facebook)
But he pleaded not guilty to four counts of operation while impaired by drugs causing death, and his lawyers challenged the constitutionality of Canada’s law setting out a legal limit for THC blood concentration when driving.
Caponecchia found Robertson had a blood THC concentration of 40 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood about 45 minutes after the crash, which is eight times the legal limit.
The constitutional challenge was rejected last month, and as a result, Robertson was found guilty on the impaired driving charges. He was also found guilty of dangerous driving in the June 16, 2020 crash.
In her ruling, Caponecchia acknowledged Robertson has lived a difficult life, marred by drug use and abuse. She also noted that he has expressed remorse for his actions.
At a sentencing hearing last month, Robertson apologized for his actions, saying he was “deeply tormented” by what he did. Robertson said he will feel guilty for the rest of his life and wants to take responsibility for his actions.
“I wanted to end my life countless times, but that would be a coward way to go,” he said at the time. “I want to pay for what I did, I want to serve my time … This family deserves justice.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.
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