PORT HAWKESBURY: A 22-year-old will serve two years of federal prison time for his role in the death of one young man and the injury of another.
On September 18, Port Hawkesbury Supreme Court Judge Robin Gogan sentenced Scott Lundrigan to two years of federal jail time and two years of probation for the charge of impaired driving causing death, as well as a six-month concurrent sentence for one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Two other charges were withdrawn. Lundrigan also faces a three-year driving prohibition. Lundrigan pleaded guilty to the two charges on April 21.
“I read a victim impact statement but I lived and grew up in this town, and I was a volunteer, I had an opportunity to return to a fulfilling job, I sat on many boards,” said Debbie Long, mother of James Daniel Poirier, who passed away after being ejected from the vehicle Lundrigan was driving. “I no longer have the ability to do that because it takes such strength to get out of bed and to get up. When you lose a child, it goes against nature. There is no pain that compares to the death of your child.”
The sentence was part of a recommendation made by the crown and the defense. Crown Attorney Thomas Kayter said he is satisfied it was a fair and just sentence.
“We’re relieved to bring conclusion to the criminal justice part of the process for the families,” said Kayter. “There is a lot that goes into the venue where the offender will serve the sentence. Ultimately, we felt that Mr. Lundrigan’s chances for rehabilitative custody in the federal penitentiary [were] better. Paramount in any sentencing of this nature is general deterrence and we agreed the federal penitentiary was the most appropriate venue to serve the jail sentence.”
Lundrigan was charged in relation to an incident on October 23, 2015, when a truck driven by Lundrigan went off the road and struck a telephone pole in the Fox Lane area of Route 19.
Another 19-year-old passenger was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
“In the beginning, I had things I wanted to happen,” said Long of the sentencing. “Once attending the MADD conference, I quickly let go of how much time he would spend incarcerated, as one day in some of our prisons is a very terrible stay. I don’t have any control over where he stays and where he goes to finish his sentence. For me, I’m happy with it.”
Anissa Aldridge, the Atlantic regional director of MADD Canada, called impaired driving a 100 per cent preventable crime. She said she understands sentencing in these cases is closer to three to five years, but added she was only in court for the sentencing.
“I was a little surprised,” said Aldridge. “I’m not sure that our sentences are great deterrents for crime and that’s problematic as we move forward. An innocent life was lost here and it’s a tragedy for everyone involved, especially for the family, so my heart goes grieves and heals for Debbie and [the rest of the family].”
Long praised her son for being an amazing young man, noting he was going to give a lot to the world. She said she was lucky to be the mother of such a kind soul, and said the same of her other two children.
“I’m so very glad that this part is closed because we’ve been coming to court for almost 23 months,” she said. “Having this over… it’s not going to bring my James back. I’m well aware of that and I thank the judge for recognizing the victim impact statement that I did do. I thought that was very powerful and I hope that statement will be used with MADD Canada in some way to help people.”