SENTENCING - Criminal negligence - Impaired operation causing death

Law360 Canada (November 10, 2022, 6:29 AM EST) -- Appeal by Sillars from his conviction and sentence for impaired operation of a vessel causing death and criminal negligence causing death. Sillars took his girlfriend’s eight-year-old son canoeing on the Muskoka River during the April spring runoff. The water was frigid, turbulent, and moving swiftly. The child did not know how to canoe and was an inexperienced swimmer. Two people told Sillars not to go out on the water. Sillars and the child were heading toward High Falls to retrieve a barrel wedged against a yellow barrier warning of danger due to the falls. The canoe capsized, and the child was swept over the falls and died. Sillars made it to shore. He had a blood alcohol content of 128 mg in 100 mg of blood. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. Sillars took the position that a canoe was not a vessel under the Criminal Code and there could therefore be no conviction for impaired operation of the vessel. He submitted that the police breached his section 10(b) Charter rights by delaying informing him of his right to counsel until after his arrest. He sought to have the evidence of the breath and blood samples excluded as a result of the alleged breach. With respect to the conviction for criminal negligence causing death, Sillars argued that there was no evidence about what a reasonably prudent canoeist would have done. Finally, he submitted that his sentence was manifestly unfit....
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