On an unusually warm November day, dozens of friends and relatives of 19-year-old Jagrajan Brar gathered outside the Brampton courthouse for most of the day listening to their phones and holding placards that read “Justice for Jag,” “Not one more,” and “Deny bail.”
Inside the courthouse, court staff moderated a bail hearing by video conference with accused impaired driver Peter Simms who appeared from the Maplehurst Correctional Centre while lawyers and the justice of the peace appeared from remote locations.
Evidence heard during the bail hearing is covered by a publication ban. At issue is whether 46-year-old Simms, from Orangeville, should be granted bail after being charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death, dangerous operation causing death and failure to stop after accident resulting in death.
The charges were laid after a deadly crash on Hurontario Street near Mineola Road in Mississauga just after midnight on Oct. 10. After Simms was arrested, Peel Regional Police released that Simms had two prior convictions for impaired driving.
Jag’s father, Rob Brar, who held a sign which read, “Minister Lametti, what if it was your family?”
He said he feels strongly that laws need to changed and appealed directly to federal Justice Minister David Lametti to make sentences stiffer for impaired drivers.
“Enough is enough. First time offender: one year in jail, five-year driving ban. Second offence: 10-year driving ban, five years in jail. This is murder. They may not call it murder, but a kid died,” Brar said.
The protest was partly organized by Jillian McLeod, the founder of a group called “Justice for Families,” which is petitioning for stiffer sentences for impaired and reckless drivers.
The group was started after the deadly collision in June which killed Karolina Ciasullo and her three children. The accused in that case, 20-year-old Brady Robertson, was charged with dangerous operation causing death and impaired driving by drugs, and had prior convictions for driving while suspended, careless driving and driving without a license.
Jag’s girlfriend, Victoria Medeiros, also attended the rally outside the courthouse. Jag was headed to her home that night when he was involved in the three-car collision that resulted in his death.
“It was obviously the worst night I’ve ever had in my life. I miss him so much, obviously. I can’t bring him back, but I can be here today and bring him justice,” she said while holding a picture collage of her late boyfriend.
Nikki Vacval said she had never met Jag Brar or his family, but felt compelled to come. The 21-year-old Ryerson University film student said she was celebrating her mother’s birthday when she heard the crash.
“I’ll never forget seeing him, Peter Simms, being thrown to the ground,” she explained.
Vacval said she wanted to bring support to the victim’s family and let them know, even strangers were affected by his death.
The bail hearing finished Friday afternoon. Justice of the Peace Nancy Rogers-Bain said the hearing will continue on Nov. 18. Simms will remain behind bars until then.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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