He faces seven years in prison for injuries “worse than death”

He faces seven years in prison for injuries “worse than death”
He faces seven years in prison for injuries “worse than death”

Then, the prosecutor Me Anne-Frédérique Coulombe described the accused during his arrest: he had glassy eyes, an unstable gait and his pants undone. He had difficulty finding his driver’s license in his wallet to give it to the police.

Clearly, the behavior of the accused suggested an advanced state of intoxication. Hoffman admitted the facts nonchalantly. The 51-year-old even gave a few smiles to journalists as they entered the courtroom.

Pierre Hoffman, 52, was found guilty of three charges of driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit causing injury. He caused a serious collision in Lévis in August 2019.

With the comments he made on Tuesday, Me Coulombe believes that the accused tends “to minimize his responsibility, to justify himself”. This reaction “says a lot” about the accused’s non-existent awareness.

The impact seriously injured Jeffrey Langlois, the driver of the other vehicle. So much so that the 26-year-old man was placed in a CHSLD to live out his final years. The head trauma he suffered left him with significant neurological problems and mobility impairment. He no longer had any autonomy.

He died three years later, in May 2022. His parents had made the difficult decision to stop feeding him.

Judge Pierre-L. Rousseau must inflict punishment on Hoffman for his devastating actions. Me Anne-Frédérique Coulombe wishes to present the death of Jeffrey Langlois as a very aggravating factor.

“I am scared”

Jeffrey Langlois’ mother, Céline Pelletier, testified before Judge Rousseau to tell him about the last years of her son’s life.

“He didn’t control his body. He couldn’t even look at us anymore. I wouldn’t want that life.”

The accident and subsequent health care left Jeffrey’s family stuck in a living hell. The 26-year-old who was so proud of his good hygiene now had to have his diaper changed by his loved ones.

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Céline Pelletier and Martin Langlois, Jeffrey’s parents (Victoria Baril/Victoria Baril)

Ms. Pelletier has struggled to regain her role as mother since the events. She is overcome by great sadness, caused by Pierre Hoffman.

“I’m afraid to drive. I’m so afraid of losing someone I love. I’m afraid all the time, non-stop.”

— Celine Pelletier

Jeffrey’s sister had more anger in her voice. She is outraged to see Hoffman continuing to live his life, even though he has ruined hers and that of her entire family.

“The person who did this… He continued to buy cases of beer where I worked,” said Lindsay Pelletier-Boutin. This element will not, however, be retained in the judge’s decision, as no evidence has been filed by the parties.

Martin Langlois, Jeffrey’s father, also spoke to Judge Rousseau on Tuesday, he had initially refused because the emotion was too strong.

He and his partner made the decision to stop force-feeding Jeffrey, they knew very well that it meant he was going to die. The couple would have liked their son to make this decision himself, but he was unable to. They will live with the weight of this choice their entire lives.

Seven years in prison

Me Coulombe suggests imposing a severe sentence of seven years in prison on Hoffman. Although Jeffrey Langlois did not die in the collision, it is difficult to imagine more serious injuries than those he suffered.

“He was never able to get back any semblance of his previous life. This quality of life is akin to death. This is not the life of a 26-year-old young man,” argues the prosecutor.

Me Coulombe maintains that the accused has shown no sign of awareness since the start of the legal proceedings. He also did not want to testify during the sentencing observations in order to express remorse. Although he is not obliged to do so, the prosecutor believes that it is a relevant factor to evaluate.

Hoffman also admitted one offense of breaching conditions, namely consuming alcohol while on bail. Me Coulombe therefore judges that the risk of recurrence is present.

Above all, she suggests that the judge consider “the significant and devastating impacts” on the collateral victims of this crime, the family of Jeffrey Langlois.

The prosecution does not note any mitigating factors in this case. She therefore judges that the sentence to be imposed must be closer to the sentences for offenses of impaired driving causing death.

Four years

In defense, Me Félix T.-Doyon proposed a four-year penitentiary sentence.

The lawyer says he is well aware of the seriousness of his client’s actions. “Obviously these are terrible consequences. […] We are all sensitive to what we have heard [mardi]“, he emphasizes.

Me Doyon considers proposing an “all in all” severe sentence. A four-year period is well beyond the penalties usually given for impaired driving causing injury.

The lawyer’s pleadings were short, but he still noted that his client is an asset to the company. Hoffman has returned to school since the accident to begin studying industrial design. The accused was also seriously injured in the collision he caused; he can no longer practice his profession due to the physical after-effects.

Among other things, he has a “steel bar at the level of the femur”.

Me Doyon also reminded the judge that the courts must not impose “totally disproportionate sentences simply for a deterrent effect”.

Judge Rousseau will deliver his decision next October.

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