Surrey parents upset at light sentence for man responsible for their son’s death

Published: October 15, 2013

JENNIFER SALTMAN
POSTMEDIA NEWS

“This is just one of those guys who’s going to be a constant revolving door,” said Sanjay Sharma Tuesday. Wayne Leidenfrost file photo/PNG

A Surrey couple is upset that the young man responsible for their son’s death in a car crash four years ago did not receive a longer sentence after reoffending.

“This is just one of those guys who’s going to be a constant revolving door,” Sanjay Sharma said Tuesday. “This is where the courts have to go a little stiffer to actually teach people a lesson.”

The young man, who cannot be named because he was a youth at the time of the fatal crash, pleaded guilty in November 2011 to dangerous driving causing the death of 15-year-old Sanjeeve Sharma. He was sentenced the following February to a six-month deferred custody and supervision order, which is served in the community and includes strict supervision and conditions. It was to be followed by 18 months of probation. He was also prohibited from driving for 3½ years.

However, just three months later the young man, now 20 years old, was caught behind the wheel of a car. In July of this year he pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and driving while prohibited.

Last week he was sentenced to 17 days of time served, one year of probation, a three-year driving prohibition and fined $1,075.

“I’m surprised he only served 17 days — he should have gone (to jail) for a while. I’m not really happy with that,” Sara Sharma, Sanjeeve’s mother, said. “Our sentence is lifetime. Our son is not here with us.”

On June 29, 2009, the offender was 16 years old and had a learner’s licence when he took his mother’s car and picked up two friends, one of whom was Sanjeeve. The three stopped at a park to drink vodka, then piled back into the car.

The teen sped excessively, tailgated, passed and cut drivers off all the way to the 8200-block 128th Street in Surrey. When he tried to pass one vehicle, he lost control and went over the median. He side-swiped a BMW and wrapped the car around a lamp standard.

The offender and one passenger suffered only minor scrapes. Sanjeeve was fatally injured.

During sentencing in February 2012, the judge noted the offender’s youth and challenged him to change and do something positive with his life.

“You’ve got to show the world you’re not the same person,” B.C. Provincial Court Judge Peder Gulbransen said.

However, the Sharmas weren’t surprised to see the young man charged again and they won’t be surprised if they hear about him offending in the future.

“I knew he had no remorse and the bottom line is this proves it. He has no remorse and he’s not willing to change,” Sanjay said. “If I was a betting man, I bet it’s going to happen again and again and again.”

The Sharmas don’t want to see anyone else go through what they’ve had to endure over the past four years.

Sara described her son as a sporty young man who lived life to the fullest. He never waited for something to happen to him — he made things happen. She imagines that if he were still alive, Sanjeeve would now be a 19-year-old university student and well on his way to make his dream of becoming an RCMP officer come true.

“There’s not a day that we don’t think about him, we don’t talk about him,” Sara said.

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