Retiree going to jail for repeated drinking and driving

'Mr. Muir presents a clear risk to the community'

Cam Fortems / Kamloops Daily News
November 6, 2012 01:00 AM

Defence and Crown lawyers both asked that a 69-year-old alcoholic - convicted a sixth time for drinking and driving and a third time for driving while prohibited - be given a conditional sentence.

The differences in sentencing submissions for Wayne Muir Tuesday in provincial court were relatively slight: Crown wanted a nine-month conditional sentence; defence asked for six months - something that amounts to house arrest or curfew.

Prosecutor Neil Flanagan also wanted Muir banned from drinking for three months, followed by an order during the next six that he not leave the house for 12 hours after boozing.

Defence lawyer Kevin Walker wanted his client to be allowed to consume alcohol for his entire sentence in his home, but with the 12-hour rule.

But Judge Chris Cleaveley tossed out the call for house arrest, instead levying 75 days jail for the retired Sorrento man.

"I'm very concerned by what I'd call a watered-down approach with regard to the no-alcohol provisions of the CSO (conditional sentence order)," Cleaveley said.

Muir was taken into custody by the sheriff and denied a request to talk to his wife - who muttered at Cleavely before walking out in anger.

The pensioner was arrested Jan. 9 last year, after a Mountie noticed he entered the Trans-Canada Highway in Sorrento too quickly. His blood alcohol readings were .14 and .15 - nearly twice the .08 legal limit.

He was still on probation for the last time he was caught driving drunk.

In his ruling, Cleaveley said Muir "has taken no steps to address his drinking problem.

"Mr. Muir presents a clear risk to the community."

Flanagan said Muir, who turns 70 next month, has drank "for probably too many years to count."

The trucker was first convicted for drinking and driving in 1975, when he received a $350 fine. It happened again in 1980, 1981, 1999, 2006 and in May 2010 - the latter offence the first time he was jailed, for 30 days. He was also banned from driving at the time.

Walker presented letters from Muir's wife and a physician, both of whom attested to his heart attack last year, asthma, arthritis and looming emphysema. He also has anxiety problems.

In addition to deterring Muir from drinking and getting behind the wheel again, Cleaveley said a jail sentence sends an outside message.

"The community needs to know people who continue this serious offending go to jail."

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