A sentence hearing Wednesday afternoon in Williams Lake has left a family saying the justice system has failed them.
Martin Gentles received his sentence by Justice D. Truscott in Supreme Court on conviction of impaired driving and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Andrea MacDonald, who lost her daughter Rayel in the April 2012 collision on Carson Drive calls the 8-month conditional sentence a mockery.
“I feel that this judge’s decision has put impaired driving charges back 50 years-fifty years ago people got away with this sort of business,” she said.
“You would think things have gotten better and improved but no. This judge is saying that it’s ok to drink and run over people; you can’t be held accountable.”
Gentles was also sentenced to 1-year probation and a 1-year driving suspension as well as a $1,500 fine.
In delivering the sentence, Justice D. Truscott said Gentles had expressed remorse for the collision that had also seriously injured Alysha Mullet.
He said that even if Gentles would be incarcerated for 4 to 6 months, there would be no benefits of him being in prison as he would probably lose his job.
Defense Ken Walker said that Gentles has always been a hard worker and has even worked his way up to being Supervisor at his current job to support his family.
He only fell into trouble with trafficking and firearm-related charges according to Walker after losing his job at West Fraser and failing miserably in his attempt to find work up North.
“It’s time for you (Gentles) to be a father to your 1-year-old son,” said Truscott who had also noted that Gentles had a troubled upbringing with his parents separating when he was 2 years old and his mother passing away in 2004.
The Crown had asked for a 3 to a 3 1/2 year sentence.
“I think that Rayel probably would have been in a far-off country nursing. That’s what she wanted to do-she wanted to be a nurse, she wanted to save lives,” says Andrea.
“Now there’s nothing and we’re left with a hole and a whole lot of anger.”
Gentles’ application arguing there was undue delay surrounding the charges against him was denied earlier that morning.
“It has re-victimized us over and over again.”
“The RCMP warned us,” says Andrea. “They warned us they were going to victimize us and we had no idea…Crown Counsel has been wonderful and the RCMP. Everyone has been wonderfully supportive.”
“Where my issues lie is with the judges-who do they have to be accountable to?”