Two second-time convicted impaired drivers will serve their jail sentences on weekends, but both will be able to spend the Christmas holiday with their families.
In Inuvik Territorial Court Nov. 25, Kristin McDonald, 38, pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while impaired and driving while prohibited. Judge Robert Gorin sentenced her to the minimum sentence of 30 days incarceration and barred her from driving for two years.
“Your recent record does concern me,” said Gorin in his judgment. “You’re developing a real substance abuse problem. I hope you can correct that.”
Crown prosecutor Angie Paquin told court McDonald was previously convicted for impaired driving and released on a 12 month driving ban Aug. 13, 2019.
However, on July 3, 2020, police responded to a complaint of a disturbance in the early morning. The complainant said McDonald was intoxicated and was driving home. Police were able to locate her vehicle swerving along the road and pulled it over. McDonald was arrested and taken back to the station for a breathalyzer, which read out a .16 blood alcohol level.
Defence lawyer Stephanie Whitecloud-Brass said McDonald was apologetic for her actions.
“She has taken steps on her own to address her issues,” said Whitecloud-Brass. “Counselling is something she wishes to continue.”
Judge Gorin granted the defence’s request to let McDonald serve her sentence on weekends and made an exception for the Dec. 25 weekend so she could spend the holidays with her family.
However, he cautioned her not to be found intoxicated behind the wheel again.
“If you do violate the driving prohibition while impaired, it’s a mandatory four-month sentence,” he said. “I think it’s every encouraging you’ve gotten help, but you need to continue.
Trial ends in impaired conviction
A trial held the next day resulted in an impaired driving conviction that is subject to similar conditions.
Following a four-and-a-half hour trial in Inuvik Territorial Court Nov. 26, Judge Gorin found Shiense Cherylann Cockney, 24, guilty of driving while impaired. He sentenced her to the minimum of 30 days imprisonment and barred her from driving for two years.
“Your record is relatively short, but the problem is that it’s related,” said Gorin in his decision. “You have only one conviction, but it’s for impaired driving.
“If this happens again, you could go to jail for four months.”
During the trial, where crown prosecutor Angie Paquin called four witnesses, court heard Cockney’s mother had called a friend to check up on her after hearing Cockney was driving her mother’s truck while impaired.
Two family friends tracked Cockney down to a home in Inuvik, where she was sitting with a friend in her mother’s truck with the engine running. The pair blocked her into the driveway with their own vehicle and asked her for the keys to her mother’s truck, which she refused to, even as her passenger asked her to give them the keys.
After a short argument, Cockney put the vehicle in reverse, backing into the other truck. One of the two family friends called RCMP at that point. Cockney then stepped out of the vehicle, using it to support herself, and then left the scene. An uncle acquired the truck keys from her and returned the vehicle to her mother’s home.
“When I consider the lack of coordination and the lack of balance, I am definitely satisfied there was impairment to drive,” said Gorin. “The fact there was an accident is icing on the cake.
“She was, in my view, heavily intoxicated. Her ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired.”
Gorin agreed with a request from the defence to allow Cockney to serve her sentence on weekends and made an exception for the Dec. 25 weekend so she can spend Christmas with her family.