Whitehorse doctor sentenced to one month house arrest

Whitehorse physician Vivian Matta was sentenced to one month under house arrest for an accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

Whitehorse physician Vivian Matta was sentenced to one month under house arrest for an accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

Last week, Matta was found guilty of careless driving, for striking and killing 26-year-old Becky Shank at a crosswalk in August 2008.

Territorial court Judge John Faulkner also fined Matta $1,000 and suspended her driver’s licence for three months.

In his ruling yesterday, Faulkner said that Matta’s carelessness went beyond a case of momentary inattention.

Other motorists were able to slow down or stop at the crosswalk, the judge said.

This makes it appear that Matta was oblivious to the fact that Second Avenue is a dangerous road and of the other vehicles around her.

Faulkner felt that Matta’s expression of remorse and grief, which she showed throughout the process and in a letter written to Shank’s family, were absolutely genuine.

However, the fact that she pled not guilty to her charges showed that she had not fully accepted her fault.

Faulkner sympathized with Shank’s loved ones, saying that they may find his sentencing inadequate.

The judge was forced to stick to the limits of the Motor Vehicles Act and the sentences of similar cases that have been handed down in the past.

No sentence that the court could have given could undo what was done, said Faulkner.

The best the court can do is denounce careless driving and hope that all drivers will be more careful in the future.

During her house arrest, Matta will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work as a doctor at her clinic, the young offenders facility and the hospital.

She will also be allowed to attend to the needs of her children in ways such as attending parent/teacher interviews.

The prosecution requested that Matta perform community service in the form of visiting local schools to talk about careless driving.

But Judge Faulkner felt that Matta interacted with enough people at work, and performed a greater service to the community as a doctor.

The prosecution also requested that Matta successfully complete a defensive driving course before she gets her licence back.

Matta’s lawyer said that would be OK, but also informed the court that Matta hasn’t driven since the incident and isn’t likely to start again soon, even if she does get her licence back.

Matta is currently applying for Canadian citizenship and her month of house arrest will not count towards her residency requirement.

The conviction will not affect her application for citizenship in any other way.

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com

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