Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

COLLISION UNDER COURT SCRUTINY – Emergency personnel assist those in the vehicle driven by Mark McClusky on Jan. 20, 2017, after it collided with a car driven by Naomi Blindheim on Hamilton Boulevard. McClusky is scheduled to be back in court April 17.

Crown seeks higher-end sentence for driver

A Yukon judge has reserved his decision regarding the sentencing of a man involved in a serious vehicle collision in January 2017.

By Gord Fortin on April 12, 2019

A Yukon judge has reserved his decision regarding the sentencing of a man involved in a serious vehicle collision in January 2017.

Mark McClusky had faced two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and two counts of having his blood concentration equal or above the legal limit causing bodily harm.

McClusky appeared in territorial court before Judge Michael Cozens on Wednesday.

The Jan. 20, 2017 collision occurred on Hamilton Boulevard. McClusky’s vehicle entered the opposing lane and hit another vehicle, causing injuries to several people.

Crown prosecutor Leo Lane argued that the sentence should be at the higher end, considering the circumstances of McClusky’s offences.

He believes the sentence should be 10 months in jail. He did not feel a probationary term is warranted, but asked for a three-year driving ban.

Lane pointed to several aggravating factors to consider, including McClusky’s blood alcohol percentage.

McClusky was tested twice after the accident. His results were 186 and 286 mg per cent respectively.

Lane explained that the Canadian Criminal Code considers 160 as bad, and McClusky was well over that threshold.

The Crown next pointed to the severity of the collision. McClusky’s car flipped over, entered into the opposing lane and struck the other vehicle head-on.

Naomi Blindheim was the lone occupant of the other vehicle. She suffered multiple injuries that necessitated facial surgery.

McClusky had two passengers in his car, a fact Lane argued needs to be considered aggravating since their safety was also jeopardized. Kimberly Johnnie was on of those passengers.

Johnnie suffered several injuries. These included injuries to her right leg, a cut lip and a deep laceration of her right buttock.

As for mitigating factors, the Crown could not point to any. There was no admission of guilt, Lane pointed out.

“Mr. McClusky can’t be given credit for a guilty plea,” Lane said.

He added that Gladue factors do not apply to McClusky.

Joni Ellerton, McClusky’s lawyer, made different submissions on sentencing.

She felt a three- to five-month jail sentence, followed by a 12-month probation and a two-year driving ban, would be more appropriate. She also proposed that her client would extend his counselling sessions.

Ellerton reasoned there are mitigating factors in this case.

After the accident, she said, McClusky took steps on his own to get help, well before going to court. She added he was not pressured into it.

Ellerton felt this sentence would take into account McClusky’s rehabilitation steps, which should move the sentence toward the lower end.

Given a chance to speak, McClusky apologized to Blindheim and her family.

“I don’t go out of my way to hurt people,” he said.

He added that the accident has affected him too. He explained that he realized that he had a lot of issues.

He turned to counselling for help, McClusky reminded the court. He did not share specific information about his troubles.

He did say the accident has forced him to change, as he had never dealt with these issues.

McClusky said he has been clean and sober for two years. He said sobriety has benefited him, as he states he has started exercising despite being a low-energy person.

He said he does not want to hurt anyone again. He appealed to Cozens for some leniency because there is nothing positive about jail.

“I will do whatever I can to live a positive life,” McClusky said. “I hope you understand.”

He clarified that his pain comes from the fact that he realizes he hurt someone else. It is not related to the possible punishment he could receive.

Cozens indicated that he would reserve his decision to a later date.

He noted that McClusky’s pre-sentence report does show that he has dealt with issues in his life.

McClusky will be back in court on April 17 for Cozens’ decision.

Comments (6)

Up 6 Down 8

Lemonade on Apr 16, 2019 at 4:18 pm

The RCMP should be relegated to dealing with major crimes only and there should be a Territorial level police service that runs the day to day stuff. Right now the RCMP won't even bother to attend things like B and E, public intox, theft etc, the stuff that affects us all on a daily basis.

As far as the dullards at bylaw who aren't even reaching the level of 'mall cop'. Let them write parking tickets all day long.

Up 11 Down 2

Guncache on Apr 15, 2019 at 8:12 pm

I'm hoping Peter Cambridges comment was in jest. Josey Wales, Bylaw is under new management, Dave Pruden is long gone, other than that I agree with you. Being sorry after the fact doesn't cut it with me

Up 23 Down 2

wallace tollington on Apr 14, 2019 at 3:35 pm

If you "choose to use" there should be maximum penalties. There may well have been fatalities here. Saying sorry does not atone for the pain and suffering of innocent people and their families .

Up 20 Down 11

Josey Wales on Apr 13, 2019 at 8:42 am

Gotta say after reading so, so. soooo many lather, rinse, repeat articles with drunken idiots creating absolute havoc, maiming and killing good folks.
That it would be a refreshing change to read one where some Good Samaritans pull the POS outta their car...and beat them to a pile of DNA.

Seems our law enforcement crews are not terribly interested in ACTUAL public safety, their political masters wish not...hence B.O.L.E.
Their remoras, CoW Bylaw have eyes and radios...call the Mayor or Dave Pruden and get the numbers on how many calls went to M via their attempts in “striving for perfection” to deal with THEE absolute saturation of our community with drunken/wasted idiots.

That said, I sure hope no drunken/wasted idiot ever harms me or my girl.
Say it all the time folks, we are on our own out here.
Need yet more proof? Stay tuned for the exact same article, only the names “may” change and locale of collision, stabbing, uninvited guests raping, etc.

We all need to stop paying the price for B.O.L.E with our tissue and our future.

Up 44 Down 3

Throw the book at him on Apr 13, 2019 at 1:20 am

You drink, you drive, you pay. Maximum jail sentence. No sympathy. Preventable.

Up 4 Down 31

Peter Cambridge on Apr 12, 2019 at 7:14 pm

This guy is sorry and has changed and should get a get out of jail free card.

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