Man jailed after fourth impaired driving conviction

Cory Hurley
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A Benoit’s Cove man with three prior impaired driving convictions was sent to jail Tuesday.

Peter O’Connell, 53, must serve a minimum four-month prison sentence for his arrest in September 2013 in Corner Brook. He will not be able to drive for three years after his release.

He also has an outstanding matter before the court relating to an alleged fifth case of impaired driving.

His prior convictions included ones in 2009, 1995 and 1991; the 1995 offence was committed in Ontario. In provincial court in Corner Brook Tuesday, provincial Crown attorney Lori St. Croix requested the minimum mandated sentence based partly on the amount of time that has past since his previous convictions — primarily the offences in the 1990s.

His breath test readings in September — 153 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and 130 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood — were also below the 160 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood level that is deemed aggravating.

O’Connell was arrested after pulling over near the Valley Mall to urinate. An RNC officer noted his slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol.

O’Connell, before being handcuffed and led out of the courtroom, told Judge Catherine Allen-Westby that he had been drinking earlier in the day with some friends. He said he had a nap that was shorter than he had thought, before driving a friend to a bar. There he had another drink before leaving. He said he pulled over after feeling “weird.”

“I wasn’t as sober as I thought,” he told the judge.

While being led out of the court, O’Connell asked the female sheriff if he could give a weeping woman in the courtroom a kiss. She did not allow it. The woman left the courtroom sobbing heavily.

O’Connell’s legal troubles are not over yet though. Legal-aid lawyer Gary Kearney requested more time to review the charges against his client in relation to a May 2014 allegation of impaired driving. In this circumstance, he refused to take the breathalyzer test.

That case was set over Sept. 30. O’Connell has not entered a plea.



Geographic location: Corner Brook, Ontario

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