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Prolific drunk driver ‘not a bad guy’

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 | 1:22 pm

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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.

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8 Responses to “Prolific drunk driver ‘not a bad guy’”

  1. Hoofhearted says:
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    “We’ve known each other for a long time. You’re not a bad guy”

    With all due respect Judge Sinclair.

    * four convictions for impaired driving
    * nine convictions for driving while prohibited
    * 13 driving prohibitions
    * 53 offenses under the Motor Vehicle Act
    Again its proven….the more times you appear in court…the less consequences you face. “I don’t see what good it does you to sit in a jail cell and not work”….lets start with, for sure He won’t get behind the wheel again for as long as he is locked up, and probably NOT a day longer.

  2. jordan says:
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    OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM IS A JOKE!!!!!!!! one day he will be drunk and driving and drive himself off a cliff, I will have no remorse for him. The judge needs to hand down a sentence that teachs him that there are consequences to breaking the law. With these ridiculous sentences what stops everybody from doing it. AGAIN, WHAT A JOKE!!

  3. robski says:
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    Maybe it takes a judge losing a family member to drunk driving before they take it seriously. Maybe then these judges will start to care more about the public than the criminals.

    And for god sakes, I hope these people are paying significant fines to cover all the court costs involved. If they’re not spending time in jail and they’re out there working, they better be paying their debt back to society financially. You never hear the details of any fines involved… I’d personally like to know.

  4. Rod says:
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    Another day , another injustice at the Kelowna courthouse. Can’t blame the RCMP this time can we???

  5. GD Star Rating

    Do we actually pay someone to come up with such absurd reasoning ???

  6. Gary M says:
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    Judge Sinclair Needs to GO! Plus the Crown has to appeal this!!!

  7. BGrigg says:
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    Best way for this idiot to learn how not to drive while drunk is to park his @ss in jail for a couple of years, and crush his cars for scrap.

  8. Fred says:
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    You may not be a bad guy, but you have no regard for the law and that means you are not a good guy either. Anyone
    who would excuse such behavior is not doing their friend any good. I have lost a brother to a drunk driver and a
    few years ago a drunk driver hit my grandson and left him
    crippled for the rest of his life. The kid was 8 years old
    at the time and is now 12. Would a good guy drive drunk and endanger any child? I can see a first time offender
    not getting jail time, most people in this circumstance
    deserve the right to straighten out their life. This person however either doesn’t care, or needs a long period
    in jail to come to grips with their bad behavior.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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