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Kamloops man pleads guilty to Canada Day watercraft crash in Barriere

June 05, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man has pleaded guilty to dangerously driving a personal watercraft in Barriere two summers ago, which resulted in a pair of tubing passengers being seriously injured.

On Canada Day in 2015, Nicholas Conville was operating the personal watercraft on a lake near Barriere when he began "showboating" for people on a nearby floating dock, Crown prosecutor Chris Balison told Kamloops Supreme Court today, June 5.

Court heard RCMP and emergency services responded to a water accident, where they found Conville and two people who had been towed in a tube behind Conville's watercraft.

Balison said throughout the course of July 1, 2015, Conville had been giving colleagues and their friends rides on tubes following behind his vehicle. While pulling Asia Petis and a man on a tube, Conville began increasing his speed and driving in loops, getting closer to the floating dock.

Balison said Conville, who was 30 years old at the time, was "essentially showboating" on the water to impress people on the dock.

"The last loop that Mr. Conville took that afternoon was... near the dock," Balison told the court. 

The tube and its passengers crashed into the dock and ultimately left the pair with serious injuries. The man suffered a concussion and broken hip, while Petis, who was present in court today, was left with a concussion and broken left arm.

Balison said the crash left a lasting impact on Petis who now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, post-concussion syndrome and anxiety.

Defence lawyer Ken Walker said Conville was immediately remorseful after the accident, saying Conville sent a message to the victims apologizing and asking if there was anything he could do. 

"He is remorseful. He wishes this had not happened," Walker said. "But it was his error and nobody else's fault."

Both Balison and Walker agree that a custodial sentence isn't appropriate for Conville, but they're far apart on a fit sentence. Balison asked Judge Susan Griffin for a 12- to 18-month conditional sentence order with a six-month term of house arrest.

Meanwhile Walker is asking for a suspended sentence with a probationary term including 100 to 240 hours of community service and no house arrest. Balison is asking for restitution to Petis of more than $5,500.

Conville also took the time to address the court.

"I regret my actions," he said. "I just wish it never had happened."

Walker also read into the record three letters of character reference for Conville - one from his mother, another from his ex-fiancée and one from his employer.

Griffin is expected to give her decision on sentencing tomorrow morning, June 6.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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