Caledon man sentenced to 17 years for crash that killed mom and 3 kids

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Caledon man sentenced to 17 years for crash that killed mom and 3 kids
Caledon man sentenced to 17 years for crash that killed mom and 3 kids

A Caledon man found guilty in a fatal crash that killed a mother and her three young daughters in Brampton has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, a judge ruled on Monday.

The sentencing includes 34 months subtracted for pretrial custody, meaning Brady Robertson will get credit for two years and ten months served.

Robertson’s “cavalier attitude” towards driving laws called out for a significant sentence, Ontario Court Justice Sandra Caponecchia told a Brampton court.

Robertson had accumulated 15 driving infractions in the two-and-a-half years before the June 18, 2020 crash in Brampton that killed Karolina Ciasullo and her daughters Klara, Lilianna and Mila, who were between the ages of six and one.

Just two days earlier, on June 16, Robertson had failed to stop at an intersection and crashed into a barrier, the judge said. As a result of the impact, he was “jolted out of his slumber,” and sped away to evade police, she said. The fact that no one was hurt in that incident is “pure happenstance,” the judge said.

Robertson was not deterred by any previous penalties for his driving, and the June 16 crash did not serve as a “wake-up call,” as it should have, Caponecchia said.

“I have avoided calling both crashes an accident. That is because both were anything but an accident; both crashes were crimes, not accidents,” she said.

“Both crimes were 100 per cent avoidable, had Mr. Robertson had any regard for the lives and safety of others.”

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 23 years for Robertson, 21, convicted last year in the death of Ciasullo, 37 and her daughters. The Crown also sought to delay parole eligibility for ten years or until he serves half his sentence, whichever is less, and a lifetime driving ban.

Robertson’s lawyer asked for a prison term of seven years, arguing that a “crushing sentence” is not necessary for a “youthful” first offender.

Craig Bottomley added that the time Robertson has spent in custody had been “a nightmare” during which he was not given adequate or consistent medical care. He argued that these should be mitigating factors during sentencing and Robertson’s good behaviour in custody and his expression of “palpable remorse.”

In her ruling, Caponecchia acknowledged Robertson has lived a difficult life, marred by drug use and abuse. She also noted that he has expressed remorse for his actions.

At a sentencing hearing last month, Robertson apologized for his actions, saying he was “deeply tormented” by what he did. Robertson acknowledged his “selfish and reckless” actions, admitting that he wished he had died that day instead of Ciasullo and her three young daughters.

“It should have been me,” Robertson said, admitting he contemplated ending his own life.

“I want to pay for what I did [and] I want to serve my time I get. This family deserves justice. I’m 100 per cent responsible for this and I take complete accountability.”

Robertson said he will feel guilty for the rest of his life.

On June 18, 2020, Peel police were pursuing the driver of an Infinity when it struck an SUV at the intersection of Torbram Road and Countryside Drive. Investigators said Robertson was travelling at a speed of 152 km/hr at the time of the crash.

Robertson previously pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving, causing death in the crash. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of operation while impaired by drugs causing death. His lawyer filed a constitutional challenge to Canada’s law setting out a legal limit for THC blood concentration when driving.

During the trial, the judge noted Robertson had a blood THC concentration of 40 nanograms per millilitre of blood — eight times the legal limit.

The constitutional challenge was rejected last month, paving the way for Robertson to be sentenced on all counts.

Ciasullo was an elementary school teacher with the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board, and her sister-in-law previously described her as “the glue that held everything together.”

The deadly crash prompted a public outpouring of grief, and an online fundraiser for the family raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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