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E-bike rider narrowly avoids jail

A motorist who spoke to the man reported being greeted by obscenities
2016-05-08 Janes Walk DMH-14
The Sault Ste. Marie Court House is pictured in this file photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

An impaired e-bike rider narrowly escaped a jail term Monday after he was convicted of his third drinking and driving offence

The Crown was seeking 30 days behind bars, as well as a driving prohibition, for Brent Shackleton after he pleaded guilty to the June 20, 2016 offence.

Although the 59-year-old man's previous convictions are from 2005 and 1997, prosecutor David Didiodato called for a custodial sentence for general and specific deterrence because of the "extreme danger" caused by the accused's actions.

The assistant Crown attorney argued that the $2,000 fine suggested by defence counsel Ken Davies wasn't appropriate, and if the prior convictions had been more recent he would be asking for four months.

Ontario Court Justice Romuald Kwolek heard a motorist noticed Shackleton's erratic driving and when he spoke to him he was greeted by obscenities.

Later that evening, he spotted the same bike parked outside the Harp Bar and Grill, and then followed the driver while he contacted the city police.

When he was waiting for the officers, he saw Shackleton sitting at a green light at Bruce and Pim streets, Didiodato said.

When Shackleton was stopped at 10:46 p.m., police noted he was unsteady on his feet and swaying, his speech was slurred, his eyes watery and his breath had a strong odour of alcohol, Kwolek was told.

A breathalyzer test revealed readings of 159 and 147 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

Kwolek opted for the $2,000 monetary penalty, plus a $600 victim surcharge, and a three-year driving prohibition.

The judge told Shackleton that the Crown's suggestion of 30 days was a "reasonable request" given his prior convictions, the amount of impaired driving and the number of people killed on our roads.

As mitigating factors, Kwolek said he accepted that Shackleton, who is on disability and has a partner with issues, has responsibilities at home, but as the Crown pointed out the accused could serve the time intermittently.

The judge noted that although Shackleton was impaired and was also putting his own life in danger, he'd rather have the accused pay back the community.

Rather than having the government house Shackleton, Kwolek told him he was imposing "a sizable monetary penalty," and hoping "you will pay back the community."

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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