By Joe Fries
William Ryan’s own lawyer had a tough time finding something nice to say about his client’s criminal record.
“The only good thing I can state at this time is it doesn’t extend an additional page,” defence counsel Bill Clarke said this morning at the sentencing hearing for Ryan, a man with a very unenviable driving record. It includes:
- four convictions for impaired driving
- nine convictions for driving while prohibited
- 13 driving prohibitions
- 53 offences under the Motor Vehicle Act
With that history in tow, Ryan, who works in the construction industry as a siding installer, went before Kelowna provincial court Judge Gale Sinclair for sentencing on one new impaired driving charge and two additional counts of driving while prohibited.
He was picked up by police in September 2008 on suspicion of impaired driving and a breathalyzer test showed he was 1.5 times the legal limit. At the time, he was under a three-year driving prohibition handed down by Sinclair in July 2007. His newest charge arose in November 2009, when a cop spotted him driving a truck with an insecure load and a damaged insurance decal. The traffic stop resulted in the second driving while prohibited charge.
On those three new counts, the Crown was seeking a jail term in the range of 12 to 14 months.
Sinclair opted for something more lenient.
“We’ve known each other for a long time. You’re not a bad guy – you’ve just got to get it through your head that you can’t drive,” he told Ryan.
“I don’t see what good it does you to sit in a jail cell and not work,” the judge continued.
Sinclair then handed down a 14-month conditional sentence, the first half of which will have Ryan under 24-hour house arrest, and the back half of which will have him under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. But he’ll be excused from house arrest and curfew for work. The judge also tacked on another five-year driving prohibition.
Ryan been jailed by other judges for past driving-related offences. He was handed six-month sentences in October 2002 on two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm in relation to a 1998 incident in West Kelowna. In March 2006, he received a 45-day jail term for driving while prohibited.
Kelowna RCMP spokesman Const. Steve Holmes declined to comment, as is the Mounties’ standard practice in such matters.