Humboldt Bus Crash Truck Driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver of the truck that collided with the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team arrives with his lawyers Mark Brayford, left, and Glen Luther, right, for closing arguments at his sentencing hearing on Jan. 31, 2019 in Melfort, Sask.

MELFORT, Sask. — A truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison by a judge who said she believed his remorse was sincere, but she had to consider the serious consequences for so many people.

“Families have been torn apart because of the loss,” Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask. “They are prone to depression, anxiety or outbursts.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is taken out of the Kerry Vickar Centre by the RCMP following his sentencing for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Melfort, Sask., on March, 22, 2019.

She also spoke of the survivors, who she suggested “are putting on a brave face in an attempt to be strong.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary had pleaded guilty in January to 29 counts of dangerous driving for killing 16 people and injuring 13 others.

He stood quietly and looked ahead at the judge as he was sentenced.

Cardinal said she approached the sentence knowing “nothing can turn back the clock” and noted the collision that occurred when Sidhu barrelled through a stop sign April 6 was avoidable.

“Mr. Sidhu had ample time to react … had he been paying attention,” she said.

Families have been torn apart because of the loss.Judge Inez Cardinal

“Somehow we must stop this carnage on our highways.”

The Crown wanted the 30-year-old Sidhu to be sent to prison for 10 years, while the defence said other cases suggested a range of 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years.

“We’re disappointed. We knew we were going to be disappointed,” former NHL player Chris Joseph, whose son Jaxon died in the crash, said outside court. “There’s no number that would have made me happy.”

Mark Dahlgren, whose son Kaleb suffered a brain injury, said the sentence was “one more step in the process.”

“We have an anniversary coming up that is going to be very, very tough. And I hope after that maybe we can get back to whatever our new normal is for everybody.”

Sidhu’s lawyer Mark Brayford said nothing as he left the courtroom. He stood beside Sidhu’s uncle from London, England, as the man gave a brief statement outside.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the 29 families,” Chanan Singh Sidhu read. “We also feel indebted to the families and the Canadian public at large for the support, sympathy and understanding they have shown … for my nephew and our families.”

Cardinal began her decision by reading aloud each victim’s name. She said the loss expressed in nearly 100 victim impact statements was staggering.

The judge said the people on the bus that afternoon were “not defined just by their association with hockey.”

“They were gifted athletes, community leaders, and team builders with hopes and dreams for the future … Some were dreaming of having a family, while others were already raising their families.”

Sidhu’s lawyers had told his sentencing hearing that he is remorseful and is likely to face deportation to his home country of India after he serves time.

Cardinal said his remorse, guilty plea and own psychological suffering saved him from a maximum sentence.

But she also spoke of aggravating factors. He had missed several signs about the upcoming rural intersection. His lapse of attention had been prolonged. His actions ended in a tragedy that forever changed families and reverbrated across the country.

“This was not a momentary loss of attention. He had ample time to stop his unit. Mr. Sidhu wasn’t speeding but his speed was excessive.”

Sidhu was distracted by tarp: defence lawyer

The sentencing hearing heard that Sidhu was going between 86 and 96 km/h when he passed four signs warning him about the crossroads before he came up to an oversized stop sign with a flashing light.

“The Crown trusts that this message will send a very strong message to everyone using our highways … that criminal driving will not be tolerated,” prosecutor Thomas Healey said Friday.

Sidhu had been hired by a small Calgary trucking company three weeks before the crash. He had spent two weeks with another trucker before heading out on his own for the first time days before the collision.

Brayford had told court that Sidhu was distracted by a flapping tarp on the back of his load of peat moss.

The Humboldt Broncos hockey team issued a statement soon after the sentence.

“Having this legal matter settled and the sentencing complete is a big step in the healing process for the survivors, grieving families, our organization and the community of Humboldt and surrounding area,” said president Jamie Brockman.

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source https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/03/22/humboldt-bus-crash-truck-driver-jaskirat-singh-sidhu-sentenced-to-8-years-in-prison_a_23698615/

By The Wall of Law March 23, 2019 Off

Three men charged after loaded gun is found in child’s crib in Scarborough

Three men have been taken into custody after police officers made a disturbing discovery while conducting a search warrant in Scarborough this week – a handgun in a child’s crib.

The loaded .45 calibre gun was found by the Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force during a search of a home on Empringham Drive, near Sewells Road, on March 20.

A picture of the gun was posted to social media by Deputy Chief James Ramer. In the photograph, the gun is seen lying on a pink mattress beside a stuffed teddy bear and clothing.

“The firearm was located in a low-lying crib,” Det. Sgt. Andrew Steinwall said. “The firearm was located with the hammer cocked back and one bullet in the chamber and it would take very little contact to set a firearm like that off.”

Police said that six children were found in the residence when the search warrant was executed. The children were between the ages of two and 14, and all had access to the room where the gun was found, investigators said.

“We’re dealing with the most vulnerable people in the communities right now, children, and if they have access or inadvertently come across a firearm like that, the outcome could be tragic,” Steinwall said.

The seizure was part of an investigation that started earlier this year into three men believed to be in possession of a gun.

Suspects who police have identified as 19-year-old Trayvon Palmer, 25-year-old Jordan Marcelle and 22-year-old Kacey Downer have been taken into custody. The Toronto residents are facing several firearm-related charges.

Palmer is scheduled to appear in court on March 25. Both Marcelle and Downer are scheduled to appear on March 28.

Steinwell said that he was glad officers found the weapon before a tragedy occurred.

“I’m a father myself and this touches close to home for me,” Steinwall said.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Tracy Tong

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By The Wall of Law March 23, 2019 Off

York Police raid meth labs, seize $5 million in drugs in historic bust

It was a mound of garbage bags and canisters dumped on a small town Ontario driveway that led York Regional Police to bust what they described as the “largest methamphetamine production operation ever investigated” by the force.

The investigation began back in November of 2018 when police were tipped off about a foul smelling collection of more than 100 garbage bags sitting outside a home on Woodbine Avenue, near Herald Road, in East Gwillimbury.

The bags had a “strong chemical smell,” police said, and the plastic canisters were marked with symbols indicating its contents were corrosive.

Officers soon discovered that the bags were full of byproducts of synthetic drug manufacturing.

“They are very explosive, toxic, and explosive, and create poisonous environments,” Det. Sgt. Doug Bedford said at a news conference on Friday.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 2, police received a second similar report about a dump site on the same street, this time nearer to Mount Albert Road. A total of 48,000 pounds of toxic waste was ultimately recovered from both locations.

On March 14, police began executing a series of search warrants across the GTA.

The search allegedly yielded a “dormant drug lab” on Kennedy Road, north of Holborn Road, and an active lab on 10th Sideroad in Innisfil.

Police said approximately $5 million worth of meth, five vehicles, and an undisclosed amount of Canadian and U.S. currency were seized during the raids.

“The scale of these two production sites we would classify as super labs,” Bedford said

“They are able to produce multi-kilo levels of synthetic drugs and have been.”

In total, eight people were arrested. York police have not released the identities of those allegedly involved, nor the charges they are facing.

One suspect, however, is still outstanding.

Van Truong Do, of Toronto is wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant. The 34-year-old is wanted for a number of charges, including production of a controlled substance, money laundering, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In addition to the arrests, police said that they also took three children into the custody of the Children’s Aid Society. Investigators do not believe the children, nor all of the suspects arrested, were living at the two homes on a daily basis, but suspect they were at times staying there.

Anyone with information about Do’s whereabouts is being asked to contact York police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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source https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/york-police-raid-meth-labs-seize-5-million-in-drugs-in-historic-bust-1.4347432

By The Wall of Law March 23, 2019 Off

Michigan deal bars LGBT discrimination in state adoptions

LANSING, Mich. — Faith-based adoption agencies that are paid by the state of Michigan will no longer be able to turn away LGBT couples or individuals because of religious objection under a legal settlement announced Friday.

The agreement was reached between Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties, which sued in 2017 on behalf of two lesbian couples and woman who was in foster care in her teens.

“Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale,” Nessel, who pursued settlement talks after taking office in January, said in a statement. “Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state.”

Michigan, like most states, contracts with private agencies to place children from troubled homes with new families. The lawsuit alleged that the same-sex couples were turned away by Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services because they are gay.

A 2015 Republican-enacted law says child-placement agencies are not required to provide services that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. But the definition of services does not include those provided under a contract with the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to the settlement.

Two plaintiffs, Kristy and Dana Dumont of Dimondale near Lansing, issued a statement saying they are “so happy” for same-sex couples who are interested in fostering or adoption children.

“We are hopeful that this will mean more families for children, especially those who have been waiting years for a family to adopt them,” they said. “And we can’t wait to welcome one of those children into our family.”

The ACLU has said the suit was filed after the office of former GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette declined to speak to it about possible discrimination. Nessel, who is gay, has criticized the law. As a private attorney, she successfully fought to overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

As of 2015, Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services were on average doing 25 to 30 per cent of the state’s foster care adoptions.

Under the settlement, the state must enforce non-discrimination provisions in its contracts in cases where an agency accepts a referral but refuses to work with LGBT people interested in foster of adoption any of the children it has accepted.

David Eggert, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law March 22, 2019 Off

Illegal dumping of hazardous materials led to York meth bust, police say

It was a mound of garbage bags and canisters dumped on a small town Ontario driveway that led York Regional Police to bust what they described as the “largest methamphetamine production operation ever investigated” by the force.

The investigation began back in November of 2018 when police were tipped off about a foul smelling collection of more than 100 garbage bags sitting outside a home on Woodbine Avenue, near Herald Road, in East Gwillimbury.

The bags had a “strong chemical smell,” police said, and the plastic canisters were marked with symbols indicating its contents were corrosive.

Officers soon discovered that the bags were full of byproducts of synthetic drug manufacturing.

“They are very explosive, toxic, and explosive, and create poisonous environments,” Det. Sgt. Doug Bedford said at a news conference on Friday.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 2, police received a second similar report about a dump site on the same street, this time nearer to Mount Albert Road. A total of 48,000 pounds of toxic waste was ultimately recovered from both locations.

On March 14, police began executing a series of search warrants across the GTA.

The search allegedly yielded a “dormant drug lab” on Kennedy Road, north of Holborn Road, and an active lab on 10th Sideroad in Innisfil.

Police said approximately $5 million worth of meth, five vehicles, and an undisclosed amount of Canadian and U.S. currency were seized during the raids.

“The scale of these two production sites we would classify as super labs,” Bedford said

“They are able to produce multi-kilo levels of synthetic drugs and have been.”

In total, eight people were arrested. York police have not released the identities of those allegedly involved, nor the charges they are facing.

One suspect, however, is still outstanding.

Van Truong Do, of Toronto is wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant. The 34-year-old is wanted for a number of charges, including production of a controlled substance, money laundering, and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

In addition to the arrests, police said that they also took three children into the custody of the Children’s Aid Society. Investigators do not believe the children, nor all of the suspects arrested, were living at the two homes on a daily basis, but suspect they were at times staying there.

Anyone with information about Do’s whereabouts is being asked to contact York police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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source https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/illegal-dumping-of-hazardous-materials-led-to-york-meth-bust-police-say-1.4347432

By The Wall of Law March 22, 2019 Off