A lawyer asked a provincial court judge for leniency Tuesday in sentencing an elderly woman who killed a man during a wild drive along Ospika Boulevard two-and-a-half years ago.
Lawyer David Jenkins argued Sandra Cassidy, 71, should receive a short jail term followed by an extended probation with severe conditions as opposed to the two years less a day Crown counsel is seeking.
If not for federal government legislation that has taken the option out of the court's hands, Jenkins said Cassidy would undoubtedly receive a conditional sentence for the crime, given her age and her unblemished driving record up to that point.
Instead, said Jenkins, a two-year jail term will mean Cassidy risks being "thrown to the wolves" and suggested she simply will not survive such a sentence given her age and health.
Cassidy has pleaded guilty to three offences in relation to the Jan. 30, 2010 incident that led to the death of Stanley Heavysides, 48.
Driving a sport utility vehicle, Cassidy ran over Heavysides as he was walking along Ospika Boulevard.
According to witnesses, Cassidy ran over Heavysides twice and likely would have run over him a third time if not for quick action by another driver who positioned his car between Cassidy's SUV and the victim, so that when she reversed her vehicle, his car was struck instead.
Cassidy took off and was later arrested at her home later the same evening.
Jenkins has argued Cassidy went on a driving tear because she thought she was being pursued by drug-dealing gangsters and maintained that she was going through a "transitory mental state" brought on by the stress of dealing with a son who, for a time, was deeply in debt to dealers as a result of a heavy addiction to cocaine.
In response, Crown counsel Lara Vizsolyi said Tuesday that a psychiatrist who examined Cassidy concluded that alcohol was the sole contributing factor. Another psychiatrist, acting on defence counsel's behalf, suggested Cassidy's state of mind came into play, but Vizsolyi noted both assessments were conducted almost two years after the incident and were guesses at best.
"The facts are what they are and the facts do not support Ms. Cassidy's version of events," Vizsolyi said.
Cassidy was returning home from a curling bonspiel when, according to witness testimony, she failed to stop at the corner of Ferry and Ospika and instead shot out into a northbound lane on Ospika where an oncoming vehicle was forced to go around her.
Cassidy then appeared to punch the gas and went into a series of twists and turns that saw her twice cross over the boulevard's meridian, going airborne each occasion.
When police arrived at her door, they noticed a smell of alcohol on her breath and when she bent down to put on her shoes she fell over and hit her head, the court was told. She admitted to drinking a glass and a half of wine while at home and later blew .120 and .130 on the breathalyzer.
Witnesses at the curling club said Cassidy never had anymore than two glasses of wine during the day while at the bonspiel and it's expected a charge of impaired driving causing death will be stayed due to lack of evidence.
Cassidy pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
Provincial court judge Michael Gray reserved decision to a date in two to three weeks time.