A tall glass of beer next to car keys on a wooden table.Even his lawyer couldn’t put a positive spin on the path he’s chosen.

“Clearly he has a horrific record. There’s no doubt about that,” said local lawyer Michael Anne MacDonald who represented Ronald Scheuneman, 40, in Bracebridge court on Jan. 10. “He has spent a great deal of time in jail over the past five years.”

On Oct. 18, Scheuneman pleaded guilty to one charge each of impaired driving and operation of a motor vehicle while disqualified related to an incident in July 12, when he was stopped by police just after 2 a.m. on Highway 11 near Aspdin Road in Huntsville following complaints of a possible drunk driver. There were two children in the vehicle with him at the time.

According to Crown attorney Ted Carlton, Scheuneman’s breath samples following his arrest were 120 and 130 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and he was under a 10-year driving prohibition.

“Nobody wants to go to jail,” he said sobbing. “I wish this didn’t happen at all.”

Carlton said Scheuneman’s most recent pleas represent his sixth conviction for impaired operation and third for driving while disqualified.

According to Carlton, although the Ministry of Transportation has suspended Scheuneman’s licence for life, he is able to apply for reinstatement after 10 years.

Scheuneman has a lengthy record stretching back to 1994, court heard, including two counts of assault with a weapon stemming from an incident where he attacked two women with a broom in Burk’s Falls in 2009.

On Jan 10, Scheuneman appeared in Bracebridge court for sentencing on the July charges.

Recognizing her client was facing jail time, MacDonald said she would like the term to be served intermittently, so that Scheuneman could maintain his employment.

According to a presentence report, Scheuneman’s Bracebridge employer said he was an unreliable worker because he is so often in jail, court heard.

Carlton disagreed saying he needed a “substantial reformatory sentence” during which he could receive treatment for alcohol addiction.

“Here is someone with five prior convictions who has been told he’s not supposed to be driving a vehicle,” said Carlton, noting Scheuneman then “voluntarily” consumed alcohol and got behind the wheel with children in the vehicle. “What is it going to take to convince Mr. Scheuneman that he can’t do that?”

Prior to sentencing, Scheuneman made a tearful plea to Justice JD Evans.

“It took me a long time for me to realize that alcohol was a problem,” he said, noting he has been working to turn his life around, including attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and attempting to re-establish relationships with his family.

“Nobody wants to go to jail,” he said sobbing. “I wish this didn’t happen at all.”

Evans said that although he gave Scheuneman credit for taking responsibility for his actions by entering guilty pleas and for working to deal with his issues on his own, he said an intermittent sentence wouldn’t be in the public’s best interest.

Evans sentenced Scheuneman to a total of one year in custody and made the recommendation he be transferred to an institution where he can receive treatment for alcohol addiction. He is also subject to another 10-year driving prohibition.

Source: MuskokaRegion.com