A driver who struck and killed a woman and her three young daughters in Brampton, Ont., nearly two years ago told an Ontario court he was “deeply tormented” by what he did and apologized for his actions on Monday.
Brady Robertson, 21, said his “defiance of the law” caused the June 18, 2020 crash that killed Karolina Ciasullo and her daughters Klara, Lilianna and Mila, who were between the ages of six and one.
Robertson said while an apology won’t change anything for grieving friends and family who have been forever deprived of their loved ones, he wants to take responsibility for his actions.
“I’m sorry for robbing you guys of your life. It should be me, and I will hold that guilt until I die,” he said at his sentencing hearing.
“I wanted to end my life countless times, but that would be a coward way to go. I want to pay for what I did, I want to serve my time … This family deserves justice.”
Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the crash.
But he pleaded not guilty to four counts of operation while impaired by drugs causing death, and his lawyers filed a constitutional challenge of Canada’s law setting out a legal limit for THC blood concentration when driving.
During trial, Ontario Court Justice Sandra Caponecchia found Robertson had a blood THC concentration of 40 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood about 45 minutes after the crash _ eight times the legal limit.
The constitutional challenge was rejected earlier this month, meaning Robertson has been found guilty of impaired driving and sentencing can now proceed on all charges. A ruling is expected May 16.
In sentencing submissions Monday, the Crown argued Robertson should be sentenced to 23 years behind bars, with roughly three years in credit for time spent in custody awaiting trial.
It further argued he should not be eligible for parole for 10 years or half his sentence, whichever comes first, and should face a lifetime driving ban.
“I would submit that this is one of the worst cases of dangerous driving that we see in these courts,” prosecutor Patrick Quilty said in listing what he said were aggravating factors in the case.
Leading up to the collision, Robertson was driving at an “exceptionally high” speed through a residential neighbourhood over a number of kilometres, the prosecutor argued.
When he came to a red light at a busy intersection, Robertson drove through by using the unoccupied left turn lane, he said.
Quilty also noted Robertson’s licence was suspended at the time of the crash, and his car wasn’t properly registered, nor was it insured.
“Mr. Robertson shouldn’t have been driving that car or any car at all … let alone driving it in the manner that he did,” he said.
The defence, meanwhile, argued the sentence proposed by the Crown is excessive and Robertson should instead be sentenced to seven years.
“This is a heartbreaking situation, no matter what angle you approach it from … You’re confronted with a very difficult task where there has been a tragic loss to the community,” defence lawyer Craig Bottomley told the court.
“But it’s an offence committed by a young man with essentially no criminal record … and (who) has had no advantage in life,” Bottomley said, noting Robertson’s life has been “marked by poverty, abuse, abandonment, drug use” from a young age.
This is clearly a young man who has wrestled with mental health demons and sociological problems his whole life,” he said.
Bottomley stressed Robertson is deeply remorseful.