CORNER BROOK The Parole Board of Canada granted Tyler Hodder day parole on Dec. 21, just over seven months after he started serving a 30-month sentence for dangerous driving causing death.
© File photo
The young Port aux Basques man was sentenced in Supreme Court of Newfoundland on May 8, 2012.
In addition to the dangerous driving causing death charge, Hodder was also convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
The charges stemmed from a Sept. 18, 2011 accident on the Trans-Canada Highway near Cape Ray.
Hodder’s reckless driving that day resulted in the van he was operating going off the road and landing in a pond. Hodder and one of his passengers, Kevin Parsons, were able to make it out of the vehicle and to safety.
Parsons’ younger brother Devin, however, drowned while trying to escape the vehicle.
On the day of Hodder’s sentencing the Parsons family was told he wouldn’t serve the full 30 months and would likely be released in December 2013.
But on Christmas day, Savannah Parsons, Kevin and Devin’s sister, was shocked when she saw postings from Hodder about living in a halfway house in Stephenville.
Parsons told The Western Star earlier this week that her family received no notice of Hodder’s release.
“We could have prepared ourselves,” said Parsons. “I just feel like the justice system has let us down.”
In response to a request for decisions filed with the Parole Board of Canada, The Western Star has learned that in addition to granting Hodder day parole for a period of six months, it has also granted him full parole upon completion of the day parole.
That means Hodder will be a free man by June.
In its decision, the board said leave privileges are authorized as per community-based residential facility rules and regulations.
“The board is of the opinion that such privileges would provide you an opportunity to reintegrate with your family and would not present an undue risk to public safety,” the decision reads.
The board said Hodder is classed as a low risk to reoffend and that during his incarceration he has been respectful in communicating with staff and is considered to be an engaged offender.
The board noted that Hodder was proposing day parole release to a community-based residential facility where accommodations had been confirmed, and that he would be afforded the employment services of the John Howard Society for any needs surrounding education and work.
It also said he would receive in-house counselling, including available cognitive behavioural based intervention and may participate in psychological counselling to address victimization issues if deemed necessary.
At his hearing, Hodder told the board that incarceration had made him realize the impact of his offences.
“Furthermore, you take full responsibility for your offences and your remorse appears to be genuine,” said the decision. “The board believes that you have made some progress since the commencement of your sentence and that incarceration has had a deterrent effect.”
In granting the six-month day parole, followed by full parole, the board did impose one special condition. Hodder is not allowed to own or operate a motor vehicle for the duration of his day parole and full parole.
“Your current serious offences were a result of driving a motor vehicle recklessly without thinking of the consequences,” said the board, noting Hodder is known to police for driving recklessly, at high speeds and for not following the law.
“Driving or owning a motor vehicle could increase your risk to reoffend,” read the decision.