Ontario Provincial Courthouse on Elgin Street. (Ottawa Sun)

Ontario Provincial Courthouse on Elgin Street. (Ottawa Sun)

An assistant Crown attorney expressed remorse after he pleaded guilty Thursday to driving with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Matthew Humphreys, 36, an assistant Crown attorney in Ottawa for 10 years, was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay a $1,400 fine, a $420 surcharge and install an ignition interlocking device on his vehicle.

“I’m incredibly sorry for my actions that morning and at night,” Humphreys told court. “Sorry to the people who were working along the roadway, sorry to the community, sorry to my friends and colleagues. I’m here to take responsibility for my actions.”

James McGillivary, the lawyer representing Humphreys, told Ontario Court Justice Gregory Regis that his client has taken steps to address “alcohol difficulties” by attending Homewood Health Centre for 35 days.

Following his treatment, he went to 90 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 90 days and now attends three meetings a week, McGillivary told court.

McGillivary told Regis that Humphreys is well respected and held in high esteem by his colleagues. His friends and family have been very supportive since the incident.

Manoja Moorthy, a prosecutor brought in from Winnipeg, told court that Humphreys crashed his car into the back of a construction vehicle in the westbound lanes of Highway 417 near Metcalfe Street at about 2:25 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2015. The Citizen has learned that the crash happened when Humphreys was on his way home from the annual Christmas party for Ottawa’s Crown attorneys’ office. It was held in a rented banquet hall at the Ottawa Police Association headquarters on Catherine Street.

A lighted sign on the Queensway warned motorists that a lane was closed, but Humphreys made no attempt to slow down before he crashed into the vehicle, Moorthy told court.

“The impact was so great that the witnesses’s lunch bag and hard hat were knocked off the seat and dashboard,” Moorthy said.

The worker got out of his vehicle and approached Humpreys, who seemed intoxicated, court heard. A second worker who saw smoke and dust come from the back of the truck from the crash also described Humphreys as intoxicated and noted that he was stumbling and smelled of alcohol.

A police officer who responded to the crash said that Humphreys smelled of alcohol when he spoke and his eyes were glossy, his speech was slow and deliberate, and he swayed from heel to toe while standing on a flat surface, Moorthy told court.

Humphreys also fumbled for his driver’s licence and dropped his wallet while he was searching for it, court heard. He almost fell over as he bent down to pick up his wallet, Moorthy said.

When Humphreys gave a breath sample at 5:40 a.m., hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol level was 200 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, or more than double the legal limit of 80 mg/100 ml.

Humphreys was charged with impaired driving and driving over the legal limit. The impaired driving charge was withdrawn.

Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General, wrote in an email that Humphreys’s employment status is “internal and confidential.”

Source: Ottawa Sun