What’s wrong with this picture below?
The truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who killed 16 members and associates of the Humboldt Bronco hockey team and injured 13 more in Saskatchewan last April has been sentenced to eight years in prison for each count of dangerous driving causing death. He also received a five-year sentence for 13 counts of dangerous driving, to be spent concurrently.
The judge wanted to send a message and even though this is the highest sentence ever given for dangerous driving causing death in Canada, the sentence could be 14 years at its upper limits. Even though 14 years isn’t really enough for what Sidhu did, the message would have been clearer with the 14 years. And none of this serving the two sentences concurrently. Adding the two sentences that were actually given together, that would then be 13 years.
It is possible that Sidhu, who is a resident of Canada, not a Canadian citizen, could be deported back to India after serving his sentence.
However, deportation or not, I am still incensed and troubled by the judge’s sentence. The message I’m getting is that Canada’s justice system (such as it is – and I have said before that many of its sentences are too lenient for heinous crimes) seldom applies the full amount of years allowed in sentencing. Or rather the courts, i.e., the judges don’t. I am not sure how that sends a message to other drivers.
And yes, I know 100 years wouldn’t bring back those he killed. I get that. But there is something really wrong with all of this and some questions still sit uncomfortably in my mind.
And yes, I also know Sidhu pleaded guilty and showed remorse.He also offered his sympathy to the victims’ families.
“I don’t know why this happened,” Sidhu said. “They don’t sit alone. I have kids, too.”
And he wasn’t drinking when driving. No distracted driving issues seem to have come up in the investigation.
The forensic report said that Singh did not brake for the stop signs. These signs were increased in size after previous accidents at the same location. The report also stated that no environmental issues (like trees) blocked his view.
It was clear outside and there were no weather issues.
I also have issues with the company he was driving for.
Sidhu had been driving for this Calgary, Alberta company for only a month.
The company, Adesh Deol Trucking Ltd, is small and appears to have only one other truck and one other “staff” – the owner, Sukhmander Singh.
The company had only been in business since the fall before the crash.
Although before the Humboldt crash, the company had no serious charges or infractions, they did have one minor infraction found in a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection defect from the Northwest Territories. The company violated the federal hours of service regulation.
The owner took the company’s other truck off the road right after the accident. The company also had its license suspended until the investigations were complete.
All this raises questions.
What kind of training did Sidhu have to drive a big tractor trailer?
Because he was driving a company truck, shouldn’t the company bear some responsibility for the crash? I couldn’t find any report of the truck not being fit for driving, but isn’t it usual when an employee commits a criminal act, the employer shares in the blame and the sentence? Or am I just being naive here? And I’m not saying it should be spread 50-50 because after all it was Sudhu, not the company or owner, who was driving the truck when he crashed into the bus.
Someone once said the law is an ass. I’m not sure what the context was then. But certainly not sentencing to the fullest when necessary does make the law (or some of its courts) look like the proverbial donkey.
Anyway, I suggest you read some of the stories about this horrific crash and its aftermath and decide for yourself. Reading the court records would be helpful. Meantime, here are a few of the stories from newspapers, etc. published online and/or in print, some of which I perused for my information. However, opinions in this post are mine. You can Google for more stories.
Truck driver in Humboldt crash worked with Calgary company for ‘about a month’, by Ryan Rumbolt, Calgary Herald Local news, updated April 11, 2018
Jaskirat Sidhu: What we know about the driver charged in the Humboldt Broncos crash, by
Driver in Humbold crash gets 8 years, by Claire Theobald (Toronto) Star Edmonton, March 23, 2019 (print copy)
No wonder I write mystery fiction (Beyond series) where the criminals get their just desserts. And it is not always jail time.
Only Child Writes