Provincial circuit court took place in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, Oct. 14 through to Friday, Oct. 16 with Judge Lynn Cole presiding.
Alexander John Keeping pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a conveyance (CCC 2018 [320.13-1) and possessing a controlled drug or substance (CDS 1996 [4-1]). Judge Cole is expected to hand down sentencing on Dec. 3, pending a pre-sentence report.
Damien Munden, who chose to represent himself, pleaded guilty to a single count of operation of a conveyance while impaired .08 or over (CCC 2018 [320.14-1-b]). Crown attorney Lori St. Croix withdrew a second charge and the matter proceeded immediately to sentencing.
Under the statement of agreed facts, Munden admitted that on May 21, 2020 he was driving a vehicle for which he was not registered or insured, which rolled across a lawn and broke a water main before rolling onto the road. Munden subsequently drove off with a female passenger.
Witnesses then notified the Port aux Basques detachment of the RCMP, and a traffic stop was made on Route 470 not far from Isle aux Morts, shortly after 4 p.m. The police report stated that the vehicle had been observed swerving well across the yellow centre line, almost striking the opposite shoulder, before returning to its own lane.
After identifying the driver as Damien Munden, the RCMP officer noted signs of impairment such as slurred speech, confusion and an odour of liquour. Munden was subsequently arrested and transported to the RCMP station where, shortly before 6 pm, a breathalyzer test found 270 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of his blood.
Calling the high blood alcohol reading ‘aggravating’, the Crown requested a fine of $3,000 and a two year driving prohibition, but observed that Munden had no criminal record and was taking responsibility for his actions.
After stating that a 30 percent victim surcharge would also be applied, Judge Cole reduced the fine to $2,500 and gave Munden one year to pay $3,250 in total. However, Cole did impose the recommended driving prohibition for a two-year period.
“You’re so lucky that you didn’t kill somebody here,” said Cole. “You’re so lucky that you are here facing a driving prohibition and fines as opposed to jail.”