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Federal prison sentence recommended for driver in deadly Shuswap houseboat crash

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June 01, 2016 - 1:41 PM

KAMLOOPS - The man behind a deadly speedboat crash on Shuswap Lake nearly six years ago appears to be headed for prison, but a Kamloops Supreme Court Judge will wait to decide how long Leon Reinbrecht will spend behind bars.

Crown is asking for 2.5 to 3.5 years for criminal negligence while the defence is asking for two years, Judge Sheri Donegan heard this morning, June 1. Reinbrecht is expected to be sentenced tomorrow afternoon.

Prosecutor Neil Flanagan compared criminal negligence to a “continuum.” On one side, there are people who commit the offence after assessing the risks, and on the other side are people who commit the offence while being oblivious to potential risks.

“Mr. Reinbrecht could not have been aware of the extreme danger he was causing by the way he was operating the vehicle,” Flanagan told the courtroom.

In closing statements, Crown also asked that Reinbrecht receive a five-year ban on operating a vehicle in addition to time served. 

Defence lawyer Joe Doyle said the period of incarceration was likely inconsequential to Reinbrecht. Whether it’s two years or five years, it’s enough to make a big impact on a usually law-abiding citizen.

Reinbrecht was convicted last October of two counts of criminal negligence, one causing bodily harm, the other causing death. He was speeding and weaving across Shuswap Lake before crashing head-on with a houseboat and remained lodged in the vessel. He appeared in Kamloops Supreme Court this morning in front of the family of Ken Brown, the man killed in the crash.

Brown's sister, Patti Oliver, was disappointed the sentencing wasn't read today.

"It is what it is," Oliver said. "I wouldn't miss tomorrow for anything."

The incident happened nearly six years ago, on July 3, 2010. Reinbrecht had his 16-year-old son and the boy’s friend on board his boat.

Last month, Donegan denied an application by Reinbrecht to toss the case because of unreasonable court delays.

- This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. on June 1, 2016 with new information from Kamloops Supreme Court.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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