The driver of a semitrailer who caused a fatal bus accident carrying a year ago, a tragedy that left 16 dead and aroused great emotion, was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison by a court.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 30, pleaded guilty to 29 counts: 16 for "dangerous driving causing death" and 13 for inflicting injuries on other passengers in the bus. Not having Canadian citizenship, he risks a return to India, his native country, after serving his sentence.
The sentence, the heaviest ever in Canada for a roadside offense of this kind in several media outlets, was handed down in the Melfort court in the province of Saskatchewan (West) in front of several relatives of the very emotional victims.
All wore the shirt of the Humboldt Broncos team, with the name and number of the victims, aged 16 to 21 years.
"We are proud to be members of the Broncos family and we just wanted to express our solidarity for our team," Mark Dahlgren, whose son, Kaleb, survived the accident told CBC Channel.
The sentence provoked mixed reactions among the bereaved families. "I knew I was going to be disappointed regardless of the number of years in jail," said Chris Joseph, who lost his son Jaxon in the accident.
The prosecutor had requested a ten-year prison sentence, but Magistrate Inez Cardinal explained that she had taken into account mitigating factors. Mr. Sidhu had, in particular, admitted his guilt, avoiding a trial, he had expressed remorse and had no judicial record.