'It should've been me,' driver who killed mother, 3 daughters says at sentencing hearing
Crown seeks 23-year sentence for Brady Robertson. Defence argues that's excessive
A driver who struck and killed a woman and her three young daughters in Brampton, Ont., in 2020 told a courtroom Monday that he will never forgive himself for what he has done.
"It should have been me," Brady Robertson said in court Monday during sentencing submissions. Prosecutors argued he should spend 23 years behind bars.
In July of 2021, Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death. His vehicle collided with Karolina Ciasullo's Volkswagen SUV on June 18, 2020 — killing Ciasullo, 37, and her three daughters, Klara, Lilianna and Mila, who were between the ages of one and six.
"An apology doesn't change what I did but I want it to be known that I'm deeply tormented by what I did," Robertson said.
"I will live with guilt for the rest of my life. Everything I dreamed of having one day means nothing now because I stole such a precious dream that was someone else's reality."
Crown wants no parole eligibility for 10 years
In addition to arguing for a 23-year sentence — minus roughly three years for time spent in custody awaiting trial — the Crown says the 21-year-old should not be eligible for parole for 10 years — or half his sentence, whichever comes first.
Prosecutor Patrick Quilty called the incident "one of the worst cases of dangerous driving that we see in these courts."
Leading up to the collision, Robertson was driving at an "exceptionally high" speed through a residential neighbourhood over a number of kilometres, Quilty argued. When Robertson came to a red light at a busy intersection, he drove through by using the unoccupied left turn lane.
Quilty also noted Robertson's licence was suspended at the time of the crash, and his car wasn't properly registered, nor was it insured.
"Mr. Robertson shouldn't have been driving that car or any car at all ... let alone driving it in the manner that he did," he told the court. He also asked for a lifetime driving ban to be imposed.
The defence, meanwhile, argues the sentence proposed by the Crown is excessive and Robertson should instead be sentenced to seven years.
Robertson pleaded not guilty to four counts of operation while impaired by drugs causing death and his lawyers filed a constitutional challenge of Canada's law setting out a legal limit for THC blood concentration when driving.
During trial, Ontario Court Justice Sandra Caponecchia found Robertson had a concentration of 40 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood about 45 minutes after the crash — eight times the legal limit.
The constitutional challenge was rejected earlier this month, meaning Robertson has been found guilty of impaired driving and sentencing submissions can now proceed on all charges.
During the hearing, Robertson said he wants to take responsibility for his "selfish, reckless actions."
"I wanted to end my life countless times, but that would be a coward way to go. I want to pay for what I did, I want to serve my time ... This family deserves justice," Robertson said Monday.
Defence lawyer Craig Bottomley said his client is deeply remorseful.
"This is a heartbreaking situation, no matter what angle you approach it from ... You're confronted with a very difficult task where there has been a tragic loss to the community," Bottomley told the court.
"But it's an offence committed by a young man with essentially no criminal record ... and [who] has had no advantage in life."
Bottomley noted Robertson's life has been "marked by poverty, abuse, abandonment, drug use" from a young age.
"This is clearly a young man who has wrestled with mental health demons and sociological problems his whole life.".
A ruling is expected on May 16.
With files from The Canadian Press