The man who struck and killed 80-year-old pedestrian Bachan Gill of Abbotsford on Sept. 30, 2010 was handed a three month conditional sentence and two year’s probation on Wednesday morning in Abbotsford provincial court.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kenneth Howarth pleaded guilty in March to the charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident in relation to Gill’s death.
He will be allowed to serve his sentence in the community with a number of conditions, including a 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew which will be monitored electronically and can only be broken for “compelling” reasons including employment, family, work, health or personal commitments.
In addition, he cannot change his address without prior approval and is prohibited from alcohol and non-prescription drugs.
Judge B.D. Hoy made the decision based on Howarth’s lack of record, his bail compliance and the fact that he has visited a psychologist.
He added that Howarth has shown remorse to the victim’s family by apologizing and offering $5,000 to the Gills for the purchase of a memorial plaque to rest with Gill’s remains at the local crematorium.
He concluded that Howarth “doesn’t pose a threat to the community.”
Gill’s son, Balbir Gill, called the decision a “slap in the face.”
“We know he is a young man and we don’t want to ruin his life,” said Balbir, who had hoped Howarth was going to receive jail time. “
But he still needs to pay for his actions. He should have stayed at the scene.”
Gill had been heading west on a marked crosswalk on Clearbrook Road, where it intersects with Newcastle Drive, when he was hit by Howarth, who was travelling south in a Ford F150 truck.
Witnesses reported seeing a truck flee the area.
Gill died on the scene, and Howarth turned himself in to police the following day.
Last week, the court heard that Hawarth had been the victim of a serious car accident that left him with a brain injury in 2002.
His lawyer, Jack Harris, said that people with brain injuries sometimes struggle with issues of impulsivity and it might have been the trigger for him to leave the scene.