Drunk driver gets 46 months for hitting motorcyclists in NB

A high-profile New Brunswick court case has seen a drunk driver get a 46-month sentence for hitting a rider and pillion in 2016, the CBC reports.

Robert Drew Shannon was sentenced on Friday; last June, Shannon hit rider Mike Burden and wife Kendra as he drove the wrong way through a Fredericton traffic circle.

Shannon’s blood alcohol content was estimated at four times the legal limit; in September, he pleaded guilty to three charges, include causing an accident resulting in bodily harm with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. The Crown reserved charges of impaired driving causing bodily harm, and driving with a suspended licence, in relation to an alleged driving incident earlier in the year.

Both riders were injured in the crash; Mike Burden lost much of his left leg as a result of his injuries, and suffered a brain injury, several broken bones, and crushed stomach and lungs, and he now has a changed personality. Kendra Burden had surgeries to repair her ankle, and in her victim statement, she told the court her family was being torn apart by the accident’s aftermath.

Along with his 46-month sentence (minus 299 days for time served), Shannon will have a four-year driving prohibition. The sentence is more severe than what the Crown had asked for (30-36 months in jail, 4-5 year driving prohibition). The maximum penalty he could have received was 10 years in jail.

Shannon’s lawyer had asked for a psychiatric examination, to see if Shannon was criminally responsible for his actions, but Judge Julian Dickson denied the request.

For more details on the case, read CBC’s stories here and here. The court case was filled with outbursts from Mike Burden; the CBC said he told Shannon “You should’ve hit reverse and run over me,” and said his amputated leg was “worth more than two or three years.” At one point, Burden had to be led out of court.

10 thoughts on “Drunk driver gets 46 months for hitting motorcyclists in NB”

  1. It’s interesting that the Provincial Court Judge sentenced the driver to a 46 month sentence when the Crown had only asked for a sentence ranging from 30 to 36 months–good for the judge. Note that the maximum sentence, according to the story, was 10 years. The maximum sentence is meted out only when the relevant circumstances are particularly heinous–like a drunk driver killing several people. I think Muzzo got close to the maximum sentence after pleading guilty to killing several people.

    The guy is doing federal time–so that’s a good thing. Don’t forget, this was a first offence for the driver, so it’s not surprising that the sentence might appear to be somewhat lenient to the rider. Maybe the provincial crowns will start seeking longer sentences for first time offenders who cause such grievous injuries to riders.

    1. The driver was also in hot water over another alleged drunk driving incident in April of 2016, before this incident — hence the other charges that were reserved.

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