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‘You have a drinking problem, sir,’ judge tells Valley man

Drinking and driving resulted in one woman and one man being charged Saturday night.
Drinking and driving resulted in one woman and one man being charged Saturday night.

TRURO, N.S. - A repeat drinking and driving offender was issued a stiff penalty and given a stern lecture from the judge during sentencing in provincial court on Thursday.

“You have a drinking problem, sir,” Judge Al Bégin told James Paul Atkins, 64, of McCabe Street, Valley.

“This is your third time, sir. Your third time drinking and driving. Do you know how many people are killed every day in Canada by drinking and driving?” Bégin asked.

“No,” Atkins responded softly.

“Four,” the judge continued. “Four per day because of people like you who seem to think it’s ok.”

Atkins was also convicted of driving while prohibited after failing to have his licence reinstated following a suspension in 2006. Bégin said that factor left him “very troubled” if the man had been driving for the past 10 years as he suspected had been the case.

“You just didn’t bother getting a licence, didn’t care,” Bégin said. “The danger with that is, if you do what you’re doing, there’s not even going to be any insurance to cover the people you are going to kill, or maim or injure.”

Atkins was charged with his latest offences Nov. 20 when another motorist said he had cut too closely in front of him and called police about the suspected drinking driver.

His lowest of two breathalyzer readings was .12.

Aggravating factors during his sentencing included the fact he was convicted in 1990 of refusing the breathalyzer and again in 1996 of failing the breathalyzer. He was further convicted in 2005 and 2006 of driving while prohibited.

For his latest drinking and driving conviction Atkins was fined $2,600 plus a further $1,300 for driving without a licence.

He was also placed on probation for one year and had his driving privileges revoked for a further two years.

During his probation, Atkins is not permitted to consume or possess alcohol and is not allowed to enter establishments where alcohol is a primary product of sale.

He was also ordered to successfully take counselling for alcohol consumption.

And Bégin warned him not to get behind the wheel again until legal to do so.

“I strongly encourage you sir not to drive again when you are not supposed to. Because that will be your fourth time and it will probably be the other door you are going to go through.”

 

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

 

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