British Columbia

'This has gone on way too long': Appeal dismissed for B.C. man who caused fatal 2010 boat crash

More than eight years after Leon Reinbrecht drove his speedboat into a houseboat on Shuswap Lake, killing one man and injuring several others, he is finally headed to prison.

Leon Reinbrecht crashed speedboat into houseboat on B.C.'s Shuswap Lake, killing Ken Brown

A speed boat is seen inside of a houseboat at a storage area on Shuswap Lake, B.C., on Sunday, July 4, 2010. The speed boat crashed into the houseboat killing one person and injuring eight others. (Daniel Hayduk/The Canadian Press)

More than eight years after Leon Reinbrecht drove his speedboat into a houseboat on Shuswap Lake, killing one man and injuring several others, he is finally headed to prison.

Reinbrecht was sentenced in 2016 to three years behind bars for criminal negligence causing death and bodily harm in connection with the grisly crash that killed Ken Brown.

But Reinbrecht has remained a free man as he applied for a stay of proceedings and then filed an appeal when a judge ruled against him. That process ended Wednesday, when the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed his case.

Brown's sister, Lorraine Tomalty, was emotional when she learned of the latest decision.

"We're just hoping he doesn't appeal this one, because this has gone on way too long," she told CBC. "My brother's not coming back and it's just a relief … that he's finally paying for what he's done."

Ken Brown, shown here in a family photo, was killed when Leon Reinbrecht crashed into Brown's houseboat in 2010. (CBC)

Reinbrecht had been drinking, smoking cannabis and doing donuts on the water just before he crashed into Brown's houseboat after a fireworks display on Canada Day, 2010. The impact of the crash was so extreme that the speedboat became embedded deep inside the houseboat.

Reinbrecht was convicted following a lengthy trial, but after sentencing, he filed an application for a stay of proceedings, arguing that his right to trial within a reasonable time had been violated.

That argument was dismissed by a B.C. Supreme Court judge. On appeal, a three-judge panel upheld that decision, writing that the 46-month, 17-day delay between Reinbrecht being charged and the end of his trial was reasonable under the circumstances.

For Brown's family, the legal process has been exhausting, and Tomalty said it was made worse by the fact Reinbrecht hasn't apologized.

"It was a horrible accident that he's done, but if he would've just acknowledged it, it would've been a lot smoother. He never showed no remorse," she said.

With files from Lien Yeung


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