Former Sûreté du Québec police officer sentenced to 8 months for crash that killed 5-year-old
Former Sûreté du Québec officer Patrick Ouellet was sentenced on Tuesday to eight months in prison for his involvement in a fatal collision that caused the death of a five-year-old boy in 2014.
The sentence also bans Ouellet from driving for a 20-month period coinciding with his prison sentence.
Ouellet was stone-faced as Justice Eric Simard handed down the sentence.
Justice Simard says the decision sends a strong message to law enforcement, reminding police officers they are not above the law.
He added police are not exempt from road safety regulations especially those which put the public at risk.
“The incarceration sends a clear message to the police community regarding the criminal behaviour of police officers while on duty,” Crown prosecutor Geneviève Langlois said.
Ouellet was found guilty for dangerous driving causing the death of five-year-old Nicolas Thorne-Belance.
In February 2014, Ouellet was driving an unmarked police cruiser when he slammed into the vehicle carrying Nicolas, his father and his older sister.
The collision happened at the intersection of Davis and Gaetan-Boucher Boulevard in Saint Hubert.
During the trial, Ouellet was shown to be driving at a speed of 134 kilometres an hour in a 50-zone.
The defence lawyer Nadine Toumas says the verdict has sent shockwaves through the police community and believes the sentence will as well.
“It was a very hard impact on the police community, obviously they care very much about safety and security — this is what they try to achieve every day,” Toumas said.
Both the Crown and the defence made the common suggestion of an eight-month jail sentence, which Toumas called reasonable.
The decision is troubling for the 34 year-old police officer. “It’s very hard for a police officer to face jail time — it’s going to be very hard on him,” Toumas said.
The Throne-Belance family remain composed in the courtroom. Family members did not comment on the sentencing but Crown prosecutor Langlois said they were “comfortable with the decision.”
Ouellet’s defence lawyer is presently in the process of appealing the dangerous driving causing death conviction that was filed in July.
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