The family of a woman killed by driver Anthony Thomas in 2018 could be heard sobbing as he was sentenced on Wednesday in a Victoria courtroom.
Thomas was handed a sentence of three and a half years in prison for killing one person and permanently injuring another in a crash involving two sisters.
Kim Ward, 51, and sister Tracey, 48, were walking their dogs on Central Saanich Road on Aug. 17, 2018 when Thomas struck them. Kim died on impact and Tracey suffered life-altering injuries.
“It was heartbreaking to hear the devastating loss she (Tracey Ward) has suffered as a result of this incident,” Justice Brian D. MacKenzie told the courtroom.
Thomas also received a five-year driving prohibition that will begin when he is released.
Thomas was found guilty of six counts, including impaired driving causing death and bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in death and in bodily harm.
Crown, which asked for a prison term of five years, emphasized aggravating factors in the sentencing, including the consequences to the victims, Thomas’ consumption of narcotics and the fact that he had been involved in a minor accident shortly before the deadly incident.
MacKenzie also highlighted mitigating factors, such as a lack of priors and Thomas being a young and contributing member of society, as well as his admission of remorse. The defence asked for a term of two years.
Crown relied on evidence given by a toxicologist during sentencing, which revealed that Thomas was under the influence of methamphetamine, amphetamine and Xanax at the time of the crash. Thomas was described as being incoherent and stunned when police attended to him at the scene of the incident, but he did not have any injuries.
Thomas is Indigenous and MacKenzie noted there are certain guidelines and provisions that must be taken into account when sentencing.
“It is important for the court when sentencing to have particular consideration given to the systematic racism and effects of colonization that have been hoisted upon indigenous persons,” MacKenzie said.
MacKenzie made clear, however, that all sentences must be issued on a case-by-case basis and should reflect the impact of the action.