Loading articles...

Family of Calgary man killed by drunk driver speaks as sentence draws to an end

Four years ago, a drunk driver killed 20-year-old Calgarian Francis Pesa and this month his sentence will end.

Kulwinder Singh Chohan was given a three-year sentence for the 2014 New Year’s Day death of Pesa, along with a five-year driving ban.

With the sentence ending this month, including just five months behind bars, Pesa’s mother Grace said there must be harsher penalties going forward.

“For him to be completely free and out of Corrections Canada and parole board jurisdiction, it’s just proportionate and commensurate,” she said Tuesday.

The 40-year-old Chohan pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death in January 2015, for being drunk behind the wheel of a Dodge Ram truck the year before.

The truck crossed the centre line on Metis Trail N.E. and crashed into three vehicles, including Pesa’s and he would die five days later.

Court also heard how Chohan had an open bottle of liquor in the car while he was driving.

Since the death, Pesa has become an advocate for a mandatory minimum sentence for impaired driving causing death, with a push of five years.

“The reason why I am strongly pushing for mandatory minimums is the bargaining,” she said. “The bargaining when that happened in our case, in Francis’ case, we were told we could have asked for five years, but it would be lowered anyway and the defense has graciously accepted three years.”

“That word, that statement, continued to haunt me to this day because we’re talking about a life here.”

Pesa has gotten some federal support, including Official Opposition Deputy Shadow Minister of Justice Michael Cooper.

He said there should be what the Conservatives were pushing just before the last election, which would be a minimum of six years, although he approves of five.

“The reality is that right now individuals who commit this very serious offence, receive nothing more than slap on the wrist and Chohan is a perfect example of this,” Cooper said.

Cooper points out even with the minimum sentence, normal parole eligibilities would still apply.

“It’s, I would say, the absolute minimum, having regard for the gravity of this offense,” he said. “The minister of justice has said that the Liberals support mandatory sentences for serious crimes, well impaired driving causing death is a serious crime.”