A Val-Caron man was fined $1200 and had his licence suspended for one year after he got into a vehicle drunk following a family dispute, drove a short distance, then returned home and found himself blocked in by a family member.

What concerned Ontario Court Justice John Keast the most was that the man, John Gagnon, had previously been convicted of drunk driving in 1986.

“The detrimental effect of the 1986 conviction has worn off,” Keast old the 55-year-old Wednesday. “You are going to have to learn all over again not to drink and drive … Life is full of stressors. You are going to have to learn the lessons from 1986 all over again.”

Gagnon pleaded guilty to being over the legal alcohol limit while driving.

“I’m sorry: it was a lapse in judgment,” Gagnon told Keast about his actions that day.

Keast imposed penalties that were suggested in a joint sentencing submission by the Crown and defence lawyer Charles Bourgeois.

Sudbury Court heard that around 5 PM on April 20, 2018, Gagnon was in his home drinking. After consuming as many as 15 beers, Gagnon left in a Ford pickup truck around 11 PM after becoming upset with a family member. He later returned.

The family member that Gagnon had been upset with then blocked Gagnon’s vehicle so he could not leave, and called Greater Sudbury Police.

Officers arrived at the home around 12:10 AM and found Gagnon still sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck with the engine turned off. Noticing the smell of alcohol on his breath, police asked if Gagnon had been drinking. He told officers that he had consumed a few beers a few hours earlier and nothing else.

A subsequent roadside breath test failed Gagnon, and later Intoxilyzer readings showed 130 and 120, both well above the legal limit of 80 while driving.

Bourgeois said that Gagnon left the house to avoid a confrontation with the family member. He said that Gagnon has a good job, works hard and pays support for several children from his first marriage.

“It’s going to be difficult for him, but he’s going to manage,” said the lawyer. “He is clearly apologetic.”

“Luckily, nobody was injured while the accused was operating his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,” assistant Crown attorney Catherine Hansuld said.

Keast doubted Gagnon had actually consumed 15 beers based on the Intoxilyzer readings and asked Gagnon how many he actually had that night.

Gagnon replied that he had consumed up to “eight maybe, but definitely not 15.”

“The point is you were drinking to excess because you were upset,” said to Gagnon. “What most people don’t do when they get upset and start drinking is drive a car.”

Source: The Sudbury Star