VANCOUVER — A Crown counsel is asking that a drunk driver responsible for killing three people be ordered to serve a 12-year sentence, a term the man's defence lawyer says would be the longest ever given to someone found guilty of impaired driving causing death in Canada.
Prosecutor Adrienne Lee told the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Wednesday that Samuel Alec deserves a "significant sentence'' thanks in part to his lengthy criminal record, which includes four impaired driving infractions, as well as more than a dozen non-criminal instances of driving without a licence.
"The accused's deliberate choice to drive has caused devastating and irreparable harm to the wives, the children, the grandchildren, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends of Paul Pierre, Kelly Blunden and Ross Chafe,'' Lee told the court.
"The accused's record is significant and an aggravating factor, and cries out for a need to protect the public.''
Alec, 42, pleaded guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing the deaths of two cyclists, Blunden and Chafe, as well as Pierre, who was Alec's good friend and a passenger in the vehicle.
"The accused's record is significant and an aggravating factor, and cries out for a need to protect the public."
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard how in May 2015 Alec was returning to his home in Lillooet along a winding mountain highway after a "lengthy binge of drinking'' that followed his friend's funeral in Pemberton.
Alec displayed a callous disregard for other road users, including failing to stop after a near miss while passing another vehicle around a blind corner shortly before he struck the cyclists, Lee said.
"This accused chose to drive while highly intoxicated on a challenging, popular, scenic, mountainous highway where he knew there would be other motorists and cyclists present,'' she said.
"He had no business being on the road."
In addition to a 12-year prison sentence, minus about two years for time already served, Crown counsel is also asking that Alec be barred from driving for 18 years. Alec was under several driving prohibitions at the time of the fatal collision, both from the courts and from the superintendent of motor vehicles.
"He had no business being on the road,'' Lee said, wrapping up her argument.
Alec's defence lawyer, Paul McMurray, asked that his client be handed a sentence of two years less a day beyond the time he has already served, which would be followed by three years of probation.
McMurray's proposal prompted a man in the public gallery to yell out, "This is crazy.''
A sentence under two years would allow Alec to remain in the same provincial facility where he is currently located, McMurray explained outside of court.
More than a dozen victim impact statements read
Alec has been incarcerated since August 2015, though three months of that time was spent serving a sentence related to a separate conviction.
More than a dozen victim impact statements were read from friends and family members of the three victims during the sentencing hearing.
Alec is expected to give a statement to the court and the judge is expected to reserve his decision.