A driver who struck and critically injured a motorcyclist at Ogden Point three years ago has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and prohibited from driving for five years.
On April 14, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Power convicted Eric Gosse of dangerous driving causing bodily harm to Ron Broda, a former Saanich police officer.
Broda almost died in the early-morning collision on July 24, 2013. He suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of his lower left leg, when his motorcycle was struck by Gosse’s Toyota Highlander as the motorcycle went around a speed bump on the roadway at Ogden Point.
The judge found Gosse’s driving was aggressive, dangerous and deserved criminal punishment. The Highlander was travelling at a minimum speed of 50 kilometres an hour, well beyond the posted speed of 30 km/h. Gosse failed to slow or brake for the motorcycle, which would have been in his view for several seconds.
On Tuesday, after the sentence was imposed, Broda’s daughters and wife Linda stayed in the courtroom to watch the sheriffs handcuff Gosse and take him into custody.
“I’m sad for him. I’m sad for us, too. It was life-altering for us and now for him, too. We’ll continue to pray for him,” Linda Broda said.
Ron Broda, who is on a firearms training course in Quebec, “would probably be glad he got some jail time, but he wasn’t expecting a long sentence, for sure,” his wife said.
Gosse’s defence lawyer, Peter Firestone, went immediately to the court registry to file an appeal on conviction and an application for bail.
The Crown had asked for a jail sentence of six to nine months. Firestone asked Power to give Gosse a conditional discharge. He argued that the conviction would invalidate Gosse’s ICBC insurance and he could be liable for more than $1 million.
Power concluded a jail sentence was necessary to uphold the principles of denunciation and deterrence.
“To impose a conditional discharge would give undue weight to the civil consequences for Mr. Gosse,” the judge said. “I am not persuaded that I should allow the civil implications of this crash to unduly influence the appropriate criminal sentence.”
Gosse, a 59-year-old pilot-boat operator, did not take the stand during the trial.
Broda was not called as a witness because he has no memory of what happened that day. Broda, who works part time as a Canada Border Services officer, was on his way to the cruise ship terminal at Ogden Point from his home in Central Saanich that morning.
Gosse had no prior criminal history, Power noted. He has been a mariner for more than 20 years with the Pacific Pilotage Authority. Gosse has been married for 36 years and has a son, a daughter and grandchildren. He is described in letters from his employer and friends as a man of good character — although the letters do not mention this driving incident, the judge said.
Remorse, which can be considered a mitigating factor at sentencing, is absent in this case, she said. A common theme in victim impact statements by members of the Broda family is that Gosse has not apologized for the harm he has caused them and has not taken responsibility for his actions, Power said.
She found Gosse’s driving history, which includes a speeding conviction in February 2013, a few months before the crash, to be an aggravating factor.
A lengthier sentence could jeopardize Gosse’s employment and affect his ability to make restitution, said the judge.
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