Toronto

'Part of me is gone': Miguel Oliveira sentencing hearing hears victim impact statements

The family of an elementary-school teacher who was struck and killed riding his bike in Toronto gave an emotional testimony during a sentencing hearing Monday.

Family disappointed to hear that Oliveira's sentencing delayed to January 12th

Kasia Briegmann-Samson gave an emotional victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of Miguel Oliveira, whose van struck and killed her husband in November 2012. (Sketch by Pam Davies)

The relatives of an elementary-school teacher who was struck and killed riding his bike in Toronto gave emotional testimony about their loss during a sentencing hearing Monday.

In her victim impact statement, Kasia Briegmann-Samson said her husband, Tom Samson, was "an amazing hands-on dad" adding, "I can't make up silly songs and flip pancakes the way Tom did."

In November 2012, Samson was riding his bike near Lansdowne Avenue and Davenport Road when he was struck by two vans. One of the vans stayed on the scene while the other fled.  Police eventually located the second van and charged the driver, who turned himself in.

"I do not have the words to describe the profound loneliness I've experienced in the past years," Briegmann-Samson said.

The couple had been married ten years and had two children, a son and a daughter, who were ages four and seven at the time of their father's death.

Miguel Oliveira, who was 22 at the time, was charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death and served 18 months under house arrest in pre-trial custody.

Oliveira spoke softly and briefly at the hearing, telling the court, "I sincerely apologize for what has happened. I take full responsibility," adding that he too has a family and daughter that he cares for.

Sentencing delayed

Oliveira's sentencing was pushed to January 12th at 10 a.m.

The crown is seeking 12-to-18 months of jail time, five years prohibition from driving and a DNA sample. 

Defense lawyer Calvin Berry, meanwhile, hopes for 60 days served intermittently along with three years probation, community service and counseling. 

Berry also asked Justice Faye McWatt to consider the time served as part of the sentence, reminding the court that Oliveira has no prior convictions.

Outside the courthouse, Samson's brother expressed disappointment at the length of time that his brother's case has gone on. The family had hoped a decision would be made so that they could begin to move on in the new year

No closure yet

"It's been a very long and difficult three years for the family and obviously we don't have closure yet," Dan Samson said.

"The case has been put over yet again and we're not happy," telling reporters his parents struggle with their grief daily.

"I am here and Tom is in the grave," Samson's mother, Gita, told the court through tears. "Part of me is gone."

Samson's father meanwhile recounted teaching his son to bike as a boy. "I blame myself for his death," Uri Samson said. The bike that Tom Samson was killed on was a gift to him from his father.

"Your honour, I am a fake," Uri Samson said. "I am faking I am well but I am not. I am broken." 

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