The 90-day jail sentence for a woman who caused the deaths of a young Pitt Meadows couple has sparked outrage and calls for change.
Andelina Hecimovic will serve 90 days in jail, on weekends, as well as community service and two years’ probation, a B.C. Supreme Court judged decided on Tuesday.
She as also handed down a three year driving prohibition.
Hecimovic was convicted for dangerous driving causing the deaths of 21-year-old Johnny de Oliveira and his 19-year-old girlfriend Rebecca (Beckie) Dyer in January.
The couple died in 2010 when they collided with an out-of-control car on Lougheed Highway while they were on their way home from a Justin Bieber concert.
In court, the judge ruled that Hecimovic, who her defense argued was an “exceptional offender” will serve her 90 day sentence Tuesday evening to Thursday morning each week until the entire time is served.
Hecimovic’s lawyer, Dimitri Kontou, said the sentence will allow her to continue her job as a nurse, and “functioning within the community, while serving her sentence.”
Comments on Facebook don’t support the ruling.
“B.C. laws are crooked and … need to be changed,” said Cliff McDonand, whose sister and another person were killed by a drunk driver in 1997 outside of Prince George.
The driver was injured, he added, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, but did not serve any time in jail.
“I lived in Pitt Meadows when this out of control driver on her way home killed these two innocent people. Where’s the bloody laws?”
￼K. Marie Plu also questioned the decision. “How is this justice – 90 days for two lives lost? It’s a slap on the wrist. I honestly don’t understand what’s wrong with our judicial system. You see people who have drugs on them go to jail for longer periods of time than this. Wow.”
Denise Maier Pawliuk would be interested in more information about how the judge arrived at the decision.
“That’s why Judges should be voted into there position by the people every four years not appointed for life,” said Jay Hamuse. “You think this judge would be reelected after handing out a sentence like that?”
Beverley Baker called the decision “disgusting.”
Barb Young suggested people upset by the decision start screaming at local MLAs.
“We love to complain but are incredibly lazy about trying to get changes made to ‘the system.'”
￼Arleen Cathro feels sorry for the family and friends of the two young people killed in this crash.
“A sentence like that seems to put no value on their loved ones [who] were killed by a dangerous driver. It almost a slap in the head, I’m so sorry.”
Tara McGhee asked, what are two lives worth?
Linda Vipond, as a parent, said the decision makes her feel sick.
“She should be put away and the key thrown away!”
Tisha Scoffins agreed.
“This is absolutely disgusting.”
Ann Robertson wants to protest the decision.
“Is there some way we can go over this judge’s head?
￼Amc Moore called the decision a “joke.”
Outside the court, the victims’ families questioned how an intermittent sentence will act as a deterent to distracted and reckless driving.
“Six years is a long time – what’s she’s put everyone through,” Johnny’s mom Audrey de Oliveira said. “And she only get’s a little bit here, a little bit there?”
Tuesday’s sentencing was the second trial for Hecimovic related to the deaths of Oliveira and Dyer. In 2013, she was acquitted on the two charges.
Former Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean also disagreed with Tuesday’s sentencing.
“The judge is an idiot,” he said on Facebook. “Two lives equal 90 days. Wonder what the verdict would be if it was the judge’s family. Can you sue a judge for stupidity?
Jacqueline Goolevitch-Hajes said nothing will bring back the lives of the two fatal victims and families will continue to suffer for years, as the case goes through court.
“And in the end, the justice system lets down family after family.”