The family of a Toronto cyclist killed in a hit-and-run is calling for mandatory minimum jail terms after the driver was handed a sentence that could see him freed after spending just 15 weekends in jail.
Miguel Oliveira had pleaded guilty last May to leaving the scene of an accident causing death, in connection with the collision that killed cyclist Tom Samson, a father of two. The court heard that Oliveira hit Samson, kept driving, and went to work, and only turned himself in to police the next day after consulting a lawyer.
Oliveira was given a six-month jail sentence on Tuesday by Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt and was banned from driving for two years. But he was given credit for being under house arrest in the time leading up to his guilty plea and will serve the remainder of his sentence on weekends.
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Defence lawyer Calvin Barry told reporters outside the courthouse Oliveira will likely be free on probation after serving 15 weekends.
His mother Gita Samson choked back tears as she told reporters of the impact of their son's death. "It broke us. He was an amazing son and an amazing husband and father. The children and (his wife) Kasia miss him so much."
Father Uri Samson told reporters he is "frustrated that the Criminal Code of Canada sets so little price on the life of a person who is killed in a hit and run accident."
He said minimum mandatory sentences would send a message that failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death is "a repugnant act."
Samson said Oliveira "will soon be on the road again without having learned that life is sacred, without comprehending the tragedy that he has caused our family."
Barry called the weekends-only sentence for Oliveira "fit and just."
"That allows him to reintegrate into society, keep his job, keep his family," the defence lawyer said, describing 25-year-old Oliveira as "a hard-working member of the community."
Sentences served on weekends involve going to jail on a Friday evening and being released on Monday morning, giving credit for four days served each weekend.
With credit for time served under house arrest, Oliveira has 90 days of jail time remaining in his sentence
He could be free on probation after serving two-thirds of that. That works out to 15 weekends.