HALIFAX - The Atlantic president for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says a decision on how to keep a Nova Scotia man from harming himself or others needs to be made soon, especially after this weekâs latest breach of his parole.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Michael Cooper makes and appearance at Halifax Provincial Court on Jan. 28.
Michael Gerard Cooper, a Cape Breton man now living in Dartmouth, was released from prison in January after serving seven years for killing Angela Smits, 19, of Sydney and her boyfriend Michael MacLean, 20, with a car after drinking.
Cooper appeared in Halifax court Tuesday, the second time in less than a week, for breaching his 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Monday evening in Dartmouth. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
âIf he gets behind the wheel of a vehicle he will be (dangerous), absolutely. Heâs already proven that,â said Susan MacAskill of MADD.
Last week, Cooper, who has been deemed a high-risk offender, pleaded guilty to breaching conditions after he walked into a liquor store in Halifax on Jan. 28, saying that his brain damage had made him confused and he didnât know where he was going.
If Cooper keeps breaching his multiple conditions, MacAskill said the only alternative might be to go back to jail for an extended period.
âIf you violate the terms of your probation, then thereâs consequences for that,â she said.
MacAskill said itâs important that Cooperâs lifelong driving ban is strictly enforced, and added this is a unique case because Cooper has said he would drink again if given the chance, and shows no sign of remorse.
Itâs important to keep Cooperâs case in the public eye because âtwo very important peopleâ lost their lives, and the parents of Smits and MacLean are concerned with having the âright thingâ done now, MacAskill said.
A fitness report stated Cooper is criminally responsible for his actions but has significant brain damage as a result of the collision, making it difficult for him to live independently.
âBut heâs responsible for those injures to himself, heâs not a victim of circumstances,â MacAskill said. âBecause of decisions he made, this is the outcome for him.â
MacAskill said itâs up to the justice system and professionals to determine whether jail, supervised housing or another outcome would be best.
âThere needs to be decisions made. It shouldnât just be a case thatâs in limbo, where nobody seems to know what to do.â