UPDATE (Nov.23): A sentencing date is expected to be set today Leon Reinbrecht.
Last month, Reinbrecht was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and bodily harm in connection to the 2010 crash. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
More to come.
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – A speedboat operator’s erratic driving caused a crash that killed a houseboat driver, a British Columbia judge has ruled. Leon Reinbrecht was found guilty Tuesday of one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
He was charged following a crash on on July 3, 2010, when his speedboat collided with a houseboat, killing Ken Brown.
Reinbrecht was riding with two young passengers —; his teenage son and his son’s girlfriend —; following a fireworks display on Magna Bay.
Multiple witnesses testified about seeing a speedboat being driven erratically on the busy lake in the moments leading up to the crash, which followed a post-Canada Day fireworks display.
Defence lawyers repeatedly focused their questioning on whether the houseboat was properly lit. However, the judge found the vessel’s green and red national lights and a stern light were visible, as was an interior cabin light.
“Mr. Reinbrecht’s conduct in taking two young passengers for a joy ride in the location, condition and circumstances of that night was inherently very dangerous,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan said in her decision.
“In my opinion, it can properly be characterized as highly reckless conduct which clearly carries with it a reasonably foreseeable risk of immediate and substantial harm.”
Brown’s sister, Patty Oliver, said outside court that she’s relieved with the verdict, five years after her brother’s death.
“We all knew in our minds he was guilty,” she said after a trial that spanned 3onal, it was just stupid.”
Oliver said her family and friends, along with people who are still dealing with injuries from the crash, want Reinbrecht to acknowledge his actions.
“You made a mistake. Own up to what you did.”
However, it’s not clear if Donegan’s ruling is the last word in the case.
Defence lawyer Joe Doyle had already filed a charter application putting the court on notice that he may challenge any conviction based on unreasonable delays.
He told Donegan he will await instructions from his client on whether to continue with the application.
While she ruled that Brown was impaired by drugs and alcohol, she said there was nothing he could have done to prevent the nearly head-on crash.