The parents of three young women injured in a 2010 crash while they were passengers of Laurent Raymond, say they're shocked by the behaviour of a Quebec judge who agreed to push back the young man's sentencing today, in part so that he could finish school.
"It's profoundly shocking," Michel Méthot, the father of one of the victims, said outside of the courtroom.
"It could have been settled this morning, fast – half a day. Unfortunately, it will still take months. We have a pretty bad system."
The judge told the victims, their families and their friends, all of whom had gathered for the hearing, that he was agreeing to postpone the hearing until June for humanitarian reasons.
Raymond, 20, was behind the wheel of a car with the three teenaged girls on July 24, 2010 when he lost control and crashed into a tree. The girls suffered serious injuries and one remains in hospital.
Raymond pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
He was expected to be sentenced to three years in prison and another five without a driver's license, as per a recommendation agreed upon by his lawyer and the Crown. But Raymond wasn't in the courtroom today, he was in class.
Sentencing proposal reached
Raymond's lawyer told the court he had advised his client he didn't need to be present today, because of that sentencing agreement reached between the two sides last night outside the court.
The lawyer said Raymond wants to finish his schooling and preferred that the sentencing be pushed back to the end of the term. He expected that the hearing would be rescheduled anyway because of the agreement that was reached.
Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer said the young man should have been present, but agreed to the request for postponement because of the agreement.
That sentencing agreement still needs go through a judge, but Boyer said he expects to approve it.
The judge told the victims, family and friends gathered in the courtroom that while the case was important to them, it was one case among many.
He said that if the two sides hadn't reached a plea agreement in the case, the victims and the families would have had to wait until September for Raymond's sentencing anyway.
It was small comfort to those who expected to leave the court with some sense of closure.
Outside the courtroom, Nicholas Di Iorio, the father of one of the victims, broke down.
There were two police officers in the room that could have gone to the school and picked up Raymond, an emotional Di Iorio told reporters.
"I'm outraged. How could I not be outraged?" he said. "We prepared ourselves. I didn't sleep the last few days. How could I sleep? I'm worried. I'm concerned."
'When we come here, we hope that we're going to find justice. After we'd be able to move forward, but it's not the case.'—Crash victim Claudia Di Iorio
His daughter Claudia said she's been waiting three years for justice and was shocked to hear her case referred to as just another file.
"When we come here, we hope that we're going to find justice. After we'd be able to move forward, but it's not the case," said Claudia Di Iorio.
Josée Turcot, the mother of one of the victims who is still in hospital, said the hearing was insulting and humiliating.
"Even the prosecutor, who has 20 years experience, said that she had never seen that happen," she said.
She said her daughter has spent the last two and a half years in hospital because of injuries sustained in the crash.
"Justine hasn't finished her [last year of high school]. She turned 19 in October. She should be finishing CEGEP. He is going to finish his CEGEP and she hasn't finished high school."
The new date for Raymond's sentencing is June 7.