CALGARY — A judge has sentenced a man with a benign brain tumour, who lost consciousness while driving and killed a Calgary woman, to 27 months in prison.
James Beagrie, 48, was originally charged with criminal negligence causing death after his truck hit Anjna Sharma, a mother of three, who had been on a walk during a work break in May 2017.
Beagrie pleaded guilty last fall to a lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.
Court heard he had been told by his doctor not to drive and, three months before killing Sharma, blacked out and got into a single-vehicle crash.
"I would describe this offence in two words -- tragic and senseless," Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Justice Richard Neufeld said in his sentencing decision Thursday.
"Mr. Beagrie ignored all of those warnings and drove anyway, and he will live with that for the rest of his life. It's exactly that type of behaviour that must be denounced and deterred so other lives can be saved."
Neufeld said Beagrie deserved a sentence of 30 months, but he lowered it to 27 months because of the man's "precarious medical condition."
"In my view, justice without compassion is not justice at all ... he is on borrowed time himself. A sentence of 2 1/2 years may turn out to be a life sentence," said Neufeld.
The Crown had asked that Beagrie serve 2 1/2 years in prison. His defence lawyer suggested two years.
The judge also ordered Beagrie be banned from driving for 7 1/2 years after his release.
"If you do recover, as I hope you will, you will have served your debt to society and will deserve a chance after a period of time to return to normalcy," Neufeld said.
"This ordeal does not need to define the rest of your life, just as I truly hope that it will not define the rest of the lives and happiness of the Sharma family in the years to come."
On Monday, Beagrie apologized in court and promised not to drive when he get out of prison, unless it's a matter of "life and limb.''
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press