Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A GRIM SCENE – Flowers are seen on May 14, 2019, the day after two teenagers died in a single-vehicle crash at the Hamilton Boulevard site. The driver was sentenced Thursday afternoon.

‘They had much of their lives left’

A Yukon man who was driving in a fatal crash in May 2019 has been sentenced to 23 months in jail.

By Tim Giilck on June 17, 2022

A Yukon man who was driving in a fatal crash in May 2019 has been sentenced to 23 months in jail.

Anthony Andre, now 24, had been convicted of two charges of impaired driving causing death and one charge of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

He was at the wheel on May 13, 2019 when he drove off Hamilton Boulevard near Falcon Drive at approximately 6 a.m.

Two teenagers died in the single-vehicle collision on Hamilton Boulevard. They were Stallion Smarch, 19, of Whitehorse, and Faith Jakesta, 18, of Watson Lake.

Whitehorse RCMP, the Whitehorse Fire Department and Yukon Emergency Medical Services were called to the scene of the collision at about 6:30 a.m. that day. It had occurred about a kilometre south of Bigway Foods.

Smarch and Jakesta were found dead at the scene, and one male passenger was assessed.

The other male passenger was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Andre was arrested and taken to the hospital to be medically assessed.

He was later released into police custody.

His blood alcohol level was approximately twice the legal limit to drive.

On Thursday afternoon, he was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

With time already served in custody, that sentence is reduced to 23 months.

Andre was placed on two years’ probation, and was banned from driving for 41 months after his release from jail.

The Crown – which had stayed three other charges against Andre – had proposed a three-year jail term and a 10-year driving prohibition.

The defence had unsuccessfully argued that other occupants of the vehicle had gotten into an argument, and that Andre’s head had struck a side window, causing him to lose control. The vehicle struck a light standard.

Territorial Court Judge Peter Chisholm said he was “struck by the offers of forgiveness” from the friends and family members of the victims.

“They had much of their lives left,” he said of the teenagers who died.

Part of Andre’s probation order is to seek counselling and rehabilitation.

Chisholm sentenced Andre as a first offender. That was despite his having been convicted of other charges following the fatal crash as he struggled to deal with the aftermath.

“Rehabilitation is an important factor here,” Chisholm said. “Even though his moral blameworthiness was high.”

The father of a young son must also serve 50 hours of community service.

The sentence allows Andre to serve his time in the Yukon rather than being transferred further south.

Chisholm told Andre that he “hopefully had a long life ahead of him,” and urged him to take advantage of the opportunities he had for counselling to face his demons.

After the sentence was pronounced, Diane Smith, Smarch’s grandmother, told reporters she was happy with it, since it will allow Andre to serve his time locally, where he has access to family and Indigenous support networks.

“We’re very happy,” she said several times.

“I feel good now, like a heavy burden has been lifted off me since 2019.”

She also spoke of forgiving Andre, who was her grandson’s best friend.

She said she doesn’t believe sending Andre to a penitentiary would have been in his best interests instead of remaining here.

He can be assisted by programs offered by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Smith said.

“As First Nations people, we have a different way of dealing with our justice.”

She has also suggested to him that he apply to study at Yukon University.

“This young guy has a future ahead of him. If he did go down south, I would have worried,” Smith said.

Comments (19)

Up 4 Down 8

Posie on Jun 23, 2022 at 12:31 pm

@ What a Joke
Apparently you have not read the report on MMIWG. This assumption that it is brown on brown issue is just another stab. If you're First Nations, you understand a two tier system. You see it all over the place, from Whitehorse M Division to getting a pair of glasses; in your HR department, to your Doctor's office. Have you ever been accused of being drunk because of the colour of your skin? No, I will safely assume not from your "Sensitive White Guilt" and the fact that you don't actually know what you're talking about. I can handle offensive, it is stupid I have a problem with.

Up 14 Down 7

Dallas on Jun 21, 2022 at 8:55 am

What a joke and the victims and families are victimized again…..,

Up 13 Down 8

bonanzajoe on Jun 20, 2022 at 9:14 pm

@Melba. Yeah, 2 years is a terribly long time for being responsible for the deaths of two young teenagers - who will never have a chance to get an education or something and come back to be a contributor to their community. Who will put flowers on their graves in a few years from now? Will he? Or you?

Up 13 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Jun 20, 2022 at 9:10 pm

@charles meyer. Judge Chisolm sure wouldn't be telling him that if he was the father of the victim. The victims may not be coming back, but they should have the respect of getting some justice out of their tragic deaths. Maybe somebody should remind these bleeding heart liberal judges of that.

Up 23 Down 9

bonanzajoe on Jun 20, 2022 at 9:05 pm

@Woodcutter. Here's my history, 3 years in a Residential school - age 3-6; 15 moves and 12 foster homes and group homes within 12 years. 8 years in military and paid taxes since I was 16. Learned to move on and contribute to my country. Never blamed anybody for my past. Had a great life. Now, lets here your history, wise sage.

Up 13 Down 8

bonanzajoe on Jun 20, 2022 at 8:58 pm

@Toe on Jun 17. It's not a jail or prison. It's a modern Bed and Breakfast. Even has the hopeless centre on 4th beat out.

Up 12 Down 7

SH on Jun 20, 2022 at 11:46 am

Guncache, any good lawyer or judge will tell you that it isn't that simple. Every murder is different, and there are so many factors to be considered with each case.

Up 12 Down 12

Happy Gilmore on Jun 18, 2022 at 11:20 pm

At BnR - Where you write, “The Criminal Code of Canada is not a ‘Yukon justice’ system…” you would be wrong. The Criminal Code is a set of rules applied to behaviour in the context of its commission wherein a given society deems that the relative moral blame worthiness of the culpable behaviour should be the foundation for a fit and just sentence.

The neat bit about the “law” is that it is supposed to be applied in a just manner with regard to the unique personal circumstances of the perpetrator and the circumstances wherein the behaviour was committed giving rise to the allegation of criminal misconduct.

This is the most rational approach to take with regard to rehabilitation. You have to know what you’re dealing with before you can commit to fixing it. You have to know what you’re doing to avoid doing the wrong thing over and over again… While our courts are often clueless they occasionally get it right!

Slow clap for Chisholm… Even a blind dog can find a bone now and again.

Up 53 Down 14

What a joke. on Jun 18, 2022 at 6:18 pm

“As First Nations people, we have a different way of dealing with our justice.”
Readily apparent when one looks at the missing and murdered indigenous women and other acts of violence coast to coast done by indigenous offenders.

Two tier system. One for them, one for us.
What a joke.

Up 38 Down 10

Vlad on Jun 18, 2022 at 5:05 pm

This sentence may sit well with certain people of different backgrounds and perhaps the families but justice should have a higher standard. Just because he has been relieved of his sins does not mean he should not spend several years behind bars. Is a life or two now worth 23 months?

Up 35 Down 22

Guncache on Jun 17, 2022 at 9:08 pm

Murder is murder. 20 years seems like a better sentence.

Up 44 Down 9

melba on Jun 17, 2022 at 8:43 pm

I guess if they are all in the car together, and he just happened to be the driver, and they were all friends doing the same things that night, it really does make it different than if he had have killed people just walking down the sidewalk or in other cars. I am impressed with the families who are not trying to blame just this one person for what happened. 2 years is still a big chunk of time, and hopefully he'll get an education or something and come back to be a contributor to his community.

Up 41 Down 9

charles meyer on Jun 17, 2022 at 6:32 pm

This sentence is a Joke. Do we not have something like Vehicular Manslaughter in the Penal of criminal Code in Canada?
To top some Icing sugar on top of all, he gets time served for the time he was out on Bail and was not allowed to drive.
On one Hand the Public cries out "Get those Drunks of the Road.
The Police say "Report a drunk Driver".
The Judge says"He is a young man and has his whole life ahead of him.
Nothing said about the Victims.
I wonder, how this Judge would feel and judge this case, if one of his Children was a Victim.

Up 41 Down 15

Woodcutter on Jun 17, 2022 at 5:46 pm

I think Dianne is sharing strong wisdom that folks like bozojoe is not capable of grasping. Young kids that find themselves in a tragic story with everyone profoundly effected, and yet all the families are able to reach for love during a time of immense pain.

Many of us, when we were young, could have found ourselves in a similar story, but we didn't.

Thank you Dianne, for showing us the power of love and forgiveness that the families have shared. I hope that this will help this young man to move forward in life.

Up 31 Down 8

Toe on Jun 17, 2022 at 4:58 pm

Can't hold people for more then two years at WCC so why waste all that money in a new jail so people doing up to five year's in jail go down south. What a joke. Maybe the Yukon government should have built a prison instead of a jail.

Up 44 Down 5

Gabe on Jun 17, 2022 at 4:52 pm

Sentenced as a first offender? He already had quite a history behind him and had been specifically warned something like this could happen. Guess what, it did and he was behind the wheel.

Up 46 Down 40

BnR on Jun 17, 2022 at 4:41 pm

Bonanzajoe, the Criminal Code of Canada is not a “Yukon justice” system.
Besides, you’ve got no vested interest in this case beyond being a disaster tourist. The relatives of the victims are satisfied, so stow it.

Up 61 Down 32

bonanzajoe on Jun 17, 2022 at 4:29 pm

“As First Nations people, we have a different way of dealing with our justice.”
The Corrections Centres across Canada are evidence of that.

Up 81 Down 28

bonanzajoe on Jun 17, 2022 at 4:23 pm

23 months in jail - with time served - for being responsible for the lives of 2 teenagers. That seems about right for Yukon justice.

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