It was an emotional day in the Victoria courthouse Tuesday as the woman who drove into and killed a 16-year-old Saanich boy in a crosswalk in 2021 faced sentencing and victim impact statements.
In a joint submission from the Crown and defence, 72-year-old Margarita Citron, who was convicted of careless driving under the Motor Vehicle Act, was sentenced to a six-month driving prohibition and a $2,000 fine.
“She expressed a lot of remorse and regret and it was clear to me anyway that this had seriously impacted her,” said Citron’s defence lawyer Jerry Steele.
Steele says the fine was on the higher side and the driving prohibition was in the mid-range.
“It was appropriate. It was a momentary lapse in attention,” said Steele.
In a statement, Kayden’s family tells CHEK News the sentence is a slap on the wrist.
“We are absolutely heartbroken at what can only be a woefully inadequate penalty for killing my nephew,” Kaydence’s aunt Sherri Edwards told CHEK News in a statement. “It was read into court today that the lights were flashing for at least 5 seconds. Another car had come to a complete stop, and there was no attempt to brake or even slow down when she hit him.”
“There is no justice since BC NDP signed with ICBC with no-fault insurance in May 2021,” said Crystal Bourque, Kaydence’s mom.
Road safety activists agree, saying the current insurance system fails vulnerable road users.
“This is the precedent that’s set. The precedent is what’s set in Section 144, driving without due consideration. That’s generally the best that seemingly crown will do,” said Zoltan Szoges. “That is what they actually think is reasonable. I disagree.”
In this case, criminal charges were never suggested against Citron. Szoges says that’s often because Crown will not approve when police suggest them.
Because Citron wasn’t charged or convicted criminally, Kaydence’s family can’t sue for damages under ICBC’s no-fault insurance.
“Money is never going to heal a loved one,” said Szoges. “But it can give that distance that’s really valuable. Right now anybody who is injured under no-fault insurance, can’t get that distance.”
Citron’s lawyer says the real tragedy is at the hands of Saanich municipality.
“The city [sic] of Saanich knew this was a problem intersection and had taken a bandaid approach to fix it,” said Steele. “It’s unfortunate that it took a man losing his life for them to change it.”
Kaydence was supposed to graduate this June. According to his mom, Kaydence was top of his classes, a proud saxophonist, and passionate about current events.
He’d worked part-time as a young teenager at a grocery store, putting into a savings account tens of thousands to go towards his dream of becoming an engineer or lawyer.
“Now, he will never know what he would have become,” said Crystal to the courtroom. “The future I was supposed to have is gone. Our lives can never be mended.”