House arrest restrictions complicate Pool case

A federal government decision to ban the use of house arrest in some criminal cases has complicated the sentencing hearing for the half-blind octogenarian who ran down and killed a flagman in Fort Langley on Feb. 25, 2008.

Because Ottawa restricted the ability of judges to impose house arrest back in 2007, it appears 88-year-old Glen Valley resident Melle Pool will either go free on probation or go to jail on March 3, when a B.C. Supreme Court court hearing is scheduled to render a verdict.

A conditional sentence of house arrest is not an option.

Pool pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death two years after after the pickup truck he was driving westbound on River Road struck and killed 52-year-old Terrance Mitchell, a Pitt Meadows resident working for the Township of Langley.

Mitchell was flagging at a road construction site near the junction of River Road and Mavis Avenue.

He left behind a wife and large extended family.

Crown counsel Don Wilson told the sentencing hearing that Pool, a retired dairy farmer from Abbotsford, should be imprisoned. Wilson made no recommendation about the length of the jail sentence.

While Pool has no criminal record, the court was told that he continued to drive even after doctors declared him unfit because of poor eyesight. His licence had expired.

Pool’s lawyer argued that his client should not be jailed because of his advanced age and vulnerability to younger inmates.

In 1996, the federal government of the day approved house arrest as an option to jail sentences of two years or less.

It was designed to reduce prison crowding and trim costs of jailing people, currently estimated at more than $100,000 a year.

And it was supposed to be limited to cases when the offender posed little threat to the community.

Critics have complained that “little threat” is not the same as “no threat” and house arrest was not an appropriate option in many cases.

In 2007, the federal government banned its use in certain cases.

Last year, new get-tough legislation was introduced that would further restrict the use of house arrest by forbidding it for cases of arson, fraud, counterfeiting, aggravated assault, street racing causing death and several other crimes.

Mitchell was flagging at a road construction site near the junction of River Road and Mavis Avenue.

He left behind a wife and large extended family.

Just Posted

Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Guatemala mission offers hope, health

Peninsula team to visit remote villages, build a home, in Piedra Blanca

Annual Aldergrove Fair announces 2019 theme: ‘Aldy on the Moon’

The fair is gathering space memorabilia as well as some of the people involved in the space program.

Guitar festival host performs in upcoming show

Langley’s Don Hlus is hosting and performing in the Fraser Valley Guitar Festival on Feb. 23.

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Most Read