Broncos crash: What will go into sentencing Jaskirat Singh Sidhu?
The truck driver involved in the deadly crash involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus could theoretically be sentenced to 354 years in prison, but given Canadian legal precedent, his actual sentence is virtually certain to be lower.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty earlier this month to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing harm.
He was the driver of a transport truck that hit the coach bus last April. Many of the 16 people killed in the crash were members of the Broncos junior hockey game.
Sidhu’s sentencing hearing takes place this week in Melfort, Sask. Five days have been set aside for surviving victims and relatives of the people who were killed to detail how the crash has affected their lives. Sidhu could be sentenced at the end of the week, although the judge may reserve any decision until a future date.
- TIMELINE: CTV Regina looks at the events surrounding the crash and its aftermath
- Scroll down for live updates from a CTV reporter at the hearing in Melfort, Sask. and click here to read the statement of facts in the case
Each instance of dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, and each instance of dangerous driving causing bodily harm comes with a maximum 10-year sentence.
Sidhu will be given 29 sentences to reflect his 29 guilty pleas. The judge will determine the exact length of those sentences, as well as whether they are to be served consecutively – meaning one after the other – or concurrently.
Dangerous driving causing death cases where multiple people died typically result in concurrent sentences. This happened in Saskatchewan as recently as last week, when Robert Major was sentenced to seven years in prison for causing a crash near Langham, Sask., that killed his girlfriend and two of his sons in 2016.
Major had pleaded not guilty to three counts each of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. A jury found him guilty on all counts.
The fact that Sidhu pleaded guilty, sparing the courts the expense of the trial and sparing victims and their families the anguish it would bring, will likely lead to a lower sentence, according to Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown.
“The fact that he’s expressed remorse, the fact that he’s pleading guilty is certainly a factor that the judge is going to consider,” Brown told CTV’s Your Morning Monday.
Other factors expected to be taken into consideration in determining Sidhu’s punishment include the specifics of his dangerous driving, which have not been detailed publicly, as well as his past driving record and what message should be sent to deter other people from driving dangerously. Brown said the high-profile nature of the case may also be a factor, Brown said.
“It’s the type of thing that a judge may use to lessen his sentence and say ‘This is one of those things where you’ve already been publicly shamed, so we can actually give you a lighter sentence,” he said.
There is no mandatory minimum sentence for either of the offences to which Sidhu pleaded guilty.