Updated: Three year jail sentence in case of fatal Shuswap boat crash

Leon Reinbrecht will serve three years in prison for criminal negligence after crashing his boat into a houseboat six years ago.

  • Jun. 2, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Ken Brown

By Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week

The driver of a speedboat that crashed into a houseboat in the Shuswap six years ago, killing the houseboat pilot, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Leon Reinbrecht was convicted on one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm following a trial last year. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan handed down her sentence on Thursday.

Reinbrecht, 54, was behind the wheel of a recklessly driven speedboat on the night of July 3, 2010, following a post-Canada Day fireworks display on Magna Bay.

The lake was busy, court heard, and witnesses said they saw Reinbrecht’s boat pulling donuts and speeding close to shore.

Ken Brown was at the helm of his houseboat when Reinbrecht’s speedboat collided with it nearly head-on. Brown died at the scene and other people on both boats suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“While Mr. Reinbrecht did not set out to harm anyone that night, he took a risk,” Donegan said.

“There was evidence in this case of extreme behaviour, bravado and machismo.

“Mr. Reinbrecht made what can only be described as terrible decisions that had catastrophic consequences.”

At trial, defence lawyer Joe Doyle argued Brown’s houseboat was not properly lit. Following the crash, investigators determined at least one of the houseboat’s lights was not functioning properly.

After Reinbrecht was sentenced, Brown’s sister spoke to reporters outside the Kamloops courthouse.

“The time given to him will be well-served,” said Patti Oliver.

“It won’t bring back Ken.”

Oliver said the family is not unhappy with the three-year sentence.

“Three? It’s kind of the maximum we thought he’d get,” she said.

“He still is responsible for a lot of pain, people suffering.

“We just hope he doesn’t appeal.”

After the sentencing, defence lawyer Fred Kaatz said he and Doyle are “strongly considering” an appeal of Reinbrecht’s conviction.

If an appeal is granted, Reinbrecht could apply for bail.

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