EDITORIAL: After the sentencing

Hopefully, some good will come from devastation suffered by South Surrey's Jocelyn Hallier as the result of someone else’s poor behaviour.

Jocelyn Hallier can only hope the consequences imposed last week on the young driver who caused her life-changing injuries two years ago will do as they are intended – to motivate the now 19-year-old to do better and to deter others from repeating her mistakes.

The South Surrey woman’s hope is a reasonable one – any time someone causes egregious harm, seeing some good rise from the tragedy typically provides a measure of healing.

In a perfect world, sincere amends would completely undo the wrong that took place, and life would go back to “normal” for all involved. Unfortunately, the world is less than perfect.

Regardless of steps taken by the young driver since the incident, or those she may take in the years ahead, Hallier must live with the emotional and physical harm she suffered that night – simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Can anything truly compensate for that?

The driver was just 17 when she got behind the wheel of the luxury SUV that hit Hallier on King George Boulevard in South Surrey. Because of her age at the time, she cannot be identified. The court heard last week that she intentionally drove dangerously in the moments leading up to the crash, ultimately losing control, hitting a parked car and plowing into Hallier and her dog, Deville, out for an evening walk.

Hallier’s injuries prevented her from returning home for half a year; a scoring system used to gauge the severity of traumatic brain injuries at one point ranked Hallier at “the lowest possible.” She needed surgery, learned to walk and feed herself again, and is facing more surgeries still.

The death of Hallier’s beloved German shepherd companion at the scene is a loss that Hallier said there is no compensation for.

Last Wednesday, Judge Gary Cohen imposed on the driver what the law allowed: two years probation and a five-year driving ban. He also ordered her to complete 150 hours of community service, submit a DNA sample and pursue post-secondary education or employment, among other conditions.

Whether it was enough to have the lasting impact remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, perhaps the driver’s self-imposed lifelong sentence, of carrying the burden of the harm she caused, will.

Like Hallier, the rest of us can only hope some good will come from the devastation she suffered as the result of someone else’s poor behaviour.

 

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