A Saskatchewan man sentenced to over seven years in prison after being found guilty for criminal negligence in the deaths of his girlfriend and two of his sons will be released from custody pending his appeal.
Robert Major was found guilty by a jury in January of three counts each of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
His girlfriend, 26-year-old Kimberly Oliverio, died in the collision, along with two of his sons: Theodore Cardinal, 9, and Brenden Major, 4. Three other people were injured.
An appeal was filed in February, alleging Crown prosecutors failed to “control their witnesses” as they delivered testimony, leading to “inadmissible, prejudicial and hearsay evidence.”
The appeal also states the event data recorder (EDR) from Major’s truck was seized without a warrant.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal said Major should be released on conditions while waiting for his appeal to be heard.
“I do not believe it is in the public interest to detain Mr. Major pending his appeal,” wrote Justice Ryan-Froslie in a decision released Tuesday.
Ryan-Froslie said Major had met the three criteria to be released: his appeal was not frivolous, he will surrender himself into custody as required, and his detention is not in the public interest.
The Crown opposed his release, saying Major’s release is not in the public interest given his driving record.
“He only imposes a risk to the public if he drives,” Ryan-Froslie said.
“It appears Mr. Major has made reasonable arrangements for his transportation. I am satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, the safety concern can be addressed by imposing a condition prohibiting him from driving and by requiring him to post a $5,000 cash surety.”
Major’s lawyer argued that one of his employees’ lives with Major and would drive him back and forth to work. His aunt moved from Ontario to help him and his mother resides in the area, counsel also argued.
Along with the driving probation and surety, Major must also reside at his acreage near Langham and attend court as required.
An appeal date has not been set.
—With files from Ryan Kessler