May 12, 2014 4:41 pm

Judge rejects plea bargain in drunk driving case, increasing sentence

CALGARY- A judge rejected a plea bargain for the young man who pleaded guilty to a deadly drunk driving crash, and has upped his sentence.

23-year-old Ryan Gibson pleaded guilty to impaired driving, following the December 2012 death of 17-year-old Brandon Thomas.

Police say Thomas’ vehicle collided with pickup truck driving the wrong way down Highway 22 near Cochrane.

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Back in April, both the crown and defense asked for a two year sentence. However, the judge rejected the plea bargain on Monday, saying it was unfit for the severity of the crime.

He added that the fact Gibson chose to drink and drive, and had a high amount of alcohol in his body, were some of the factors he based his decision on.

“I‘m thankful for the judge we had,” said Thomas’ mother, Kim Thomas. “He listened, he took the time not to accept the lawyers’ bargains behind the doors. I’m very disappointed in the sentence of course, but i’m happy the judge took the time.”

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner says his client is sorry for what happened.

“I believe he was remorseful when he prepared that written statement which I read and didn’t touch. I believe he was remorseful when he read it to the court, and the judge accepted that without hesitation.”

Gibson has since been sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars.

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