Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Judge's sentence could continue 'gloves-off' era

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A Winnipeg man is fighting to stay out of jail for a drunken car crash -- just one day after another judge warned of a crackdown on drinking and driving.

Gordon Scully pleaded guilty Thursday to impaired driving causing bodily harm in the 2010 incident. He seeks a fine, citing several other case precedents where such a penalty was imposed.

The Crown is asking for a much stiffer sentence of six months in jail, an 18-month driving prohibition and one year of supervised probation. They called Scully a "potential killer on the road" who was in a state of "extreme intoxication" at the time of his arrest.

Provincial court Judge Tracey Lord has reserved her decision until Aug. 10.

Scully, 46, has no previous criminal record and is otherwise a model citizen, court was told. He was driving home from a night at the bar when he slammed into the victim's car on Kernaghan Avenue in Transcona. The female passenger suffered serious whiplash that continues to cause pain despite months of rehabilitation.

Scully initially told the police following his arrest he had consumed only two beers that evening. But a blood-alcohol reading taken two hours later registered a reading of 0.20. Experts say it would have been as high as 0.25 -- or triple the legal limit -- at the time of the crash.

"I screwed up. I hope that person is OK. I would apologize if I could," Scully told officers at the scene while displaying major signs of impairment, including slurred speech.

Scully then admitted he'd had four beers, later changing his story to eight and ultimately admitting he lost track, but it may have been more than a dozen.

Scully's hearing comes one day after another Manitoba judge, Ray Wyant, proclaimed the "gloves are coming off" in impaired-driving cases. Wyant ignored a joint recommendation to fine a first-time impaired-driving offender and instead sentenced him to 14 days in jail plus a 15-month driving ban and two years of probation.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2012 B3

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