With a conviction for impaired driving from about 23 years ago, Crown attorney Adam Sparkes said he was giving a Corner Brook man the benefit of the doubt by suggesting probation instead of jail time for a more recent offence.
Sparkes said he was focusing on rehabilitation and that when Jeremiah Anderson got behind the wheel of his vehicle while drunk one night in August that it was a one-time relapse.
Anderson, 52, pleaded guilty to operation of vehicle while impaired by exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood during an appearance in provincial court on Tuesday.
Anderson was charged on Aug. 10 after a witness contacted police to report a possible impaired driver.
The witness had seen Anderson operating a vehicle in an erratic manner on Griffin Drive at 9:47 p.m. Anderson had swerved over the yellow line on the road and almost drove into a ditch.
When he stopped at a traffic light, the witness got out of his vehicle and tapped on the window of Anderson’s vehicle. He noted that Anderson was clumsy and could smell alcohol. The witness took Anderson’s keys to detain him until police arrived.
Two breath samples taken by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary registered at 280 and 270 per cent — both over three times the legal limit.
Sparkes asked for an elevated fine of $1,500 for the offence and suggested a two-year period of probation along with clauses for counselling and that Anderson not drink. He also asked for a two-year driving prohibition.
Legal aid lawyer Sandi MacKinnon, said Anderson accepted full responsibility for his actions. She suggested the same purpose of rehabilitation could be achieved with a shorter period of probation and a shorter driving prohibition.
Judge Wayne Gorman said the circumstances of the offence were aggravating and that Anderson was at the stage of being completely incapable of driving. He said Anderson was a danger to others at the time and fortunately he did not harm or kill anyone.
He fined Anderson the suggested $1,500, along with a 30 per cent surcharge and granted the lower request of 18 months for both the probation and driving prohibition. He also ordered that Anderson attend any treatment of counselling arranged or recommended by his probation officer. He must also refrain from possessing or consuming any alcoholic beverage during his probation.