Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Court spurns man’s appeal of dangerous driving sentence

The Court of Appeal of Yukon has dismissed the appeal of a Yukon man who was challenging his sentence for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

By Gord Fortin on April 15, 2019

The Court of Appeal of Yukon has dismissed the appeal of a Yukon man who was challenging his sentence for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The eight-page written decision on Paul Kloepfer’s appeal, which was heard in British Columbia, was released March 21.

Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein provided the written reasons. Justices Barbara Fisher and Bruce Butler agreed that the appeal should be dismissed.

Kloepfer was seeking to have his sentence reduced from five months to one month. He argued that this should be concurrent to two other convictions related to the same incident.

These included two counts of failing to remain at the scene of an accident. Kloepfer appealed those two convictions, which were overturned earlier this year in a separate appeal.

“He submits there is an error in principle impacting the sentence, as the judge wrongly factored in an aggravating factor,” Stromberg-Stein said in the decision.

He did not argue that the sentence was unfit.

Before getting to her reasons for dismissal, Stromberg-Stein went over the facts of the case.

She said Kloepfer intentionally sped up his truck at four pedestrians. He did so as the pedestrians walked along a rural road south of Whitehorse.

The identities of some of the pedestrians cannot be published.

Kloepfer hit two of the four people in the group. One was a senior and the other was a youth – who was injured as a result.

The trial judge concluded that Kloepfer left the area after the incident. He drove to his residence and called the RCMP to complain about the pedestrians causing mischief.

Kloepfer is known to have bad relations with the pedestrians. The sentencing judge felt Kloepfer did not take responsibility for his actions and had expressed hostility toward the victims.

His pre-sentence report showed that he does not have any insight about the effects of his behaviour.

It also showed he has “significant issues with conflict resolutions and cognitive distortions.”

The judge felt some sort of jail sentence to achieve denunciation and deterrence was appropriate.

The Crown in this case argued that during sentencing, the judge made an error in principle when deeming the failure to remain at the scene as aggravating.

“Despite the error, the Crown submits the five-month sentence imposed for dangerous driving causing bodily harm is a fit sentence that should be affirmed on appeal,” Stromberg-Stein said in the decision.

She said Kloepfer leaving the scene of the accident was one of several factors the trial judge considered aggravating. She noted the judge did not add consecutive sentences or impose a higher sentence for leaving the scene.

Overall, she felt the sentencing judge did not make a mistake in principle by making this consideration.

She explained that “distinct societal interests were under consideration” during sentencing.

The court rejected the concept that the offender was being punished multiple times for the same conduct.

This was because the court determined the different charges Kloepfer faced at the time again played into various societal interests.

She mentioned that although the two convictions for leaving the scene of an accident were overturned, this did not mean Kloepfer’s five-month sentence was too severe.

She explained that he would not have received a worse sentence than he would have under different circumstances.

She clarified this is because the sentencing judge determined an appropriate sentence for each offence. These were allowed to be served concurrently, before two were overturned.

Stromberg-Stein did not feel a need to alter the sentence.

“There is not basis for this court to interfere with the original sentence,” she said in the decision.

With that, the appeal was dismissed.

Comments (4)

Up 3 Down 4

Josey Wales on Apr 16, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Hey Steve...great points, spot on actually.

A car is a great offensive weapon, you can intentionally back over someone, catch it on HD CCTV and those “law enforcement” protect and serve folks in that mega fortress will in fact not give a rats ass.
In fact CST. Caron will tell you that you should’ve got outta the way.
Sincerely hope that never ever happens to him on duty, if so?
Maybe I will visit him at WGH, or the sea of red at parade and tell him or his colleagues that...”should’ve got outta the way”
Last point, judges sleep just fine as they have an entire army protecting them, none of this “ we will open a file” crap that we peasants get.
Nope full resources, all team members mobilized and in thee most timely fashion. Never held to any account for their clear Liberal bias and poor judgement, sleep like super solid almost conscious free I suggest.

Another dead horse....need proof? Go to virtually any part of any of our engineered dysfunctional communities...where the “justice/law and order elite DO NOT live.
Kit up folks, the free pour season is here.
Drunken high idiots are on our roads, uninvited rapists right to your door like pizza, NCR and Gladue kangaroos hopping from one crime scene to the next.

On the record facts, and yes..I just said those things.
Catalyst actually, as I cannot even be remotely bothered, nor supportive of
M and the malfeasance, PC policing...they call public safety.
Dead horse...on our own out here folks, kit up and act accordingly!

Up 12 Down 1

steve on Apr 16, 2019 at 12:55 pm

The logic of the judges is mind boggling.
So I take a gun and shoot someone in the arm intentionally and it's attempted murder.

Take a car and not a gun and try and run them over with the same intentions and it's not attempted murder. It's 5 months for hitting them.
This tells me don't use a gun use a vehicle and claim stupidity. You will get off Scott free.

One last point:
So tell me judges you let him off with a slap on the wrist and knowing he holds no remorse and hostility to these people what if next time he kills one of them, how will that make ya feel? What will be his conviction then?

Up 10 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on Apr 16, 2019 at 8:00 am

5 months for driving your car or truck at someone, hitting them, then taking off. Yup.. Yukon justice. Not.

Up 15 Down 2

Clarence Darrow on Apr 15, 2019 at 7:50 pm

He should have had the sentence increased to 1 year minimum. This was an attempted vehicular homicide incident. A lifetime driving ban would also be appropriate for this outrage.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.