By Tim Petruk
The driver of a speedboat that collided with a houseboat on Shuswap Lake nearly 10 years ago, killing one man and injuring others, has been granted day parole despite his failure to “fully accept responsibility” for the crash.
In January 2019, Leon Reinbrecht began serving a three-year sentence in a federal prison after the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.
Ken Brown died on July 3, 2010, when his houseboat was struck by Reinbrecht’s speedboat.
Brown had been driving the houseboat and a number of his passengers were injured. Reinbrecht’s speedboat became fully lodged inside the houseboat.
Following a lengthy trial in B.C. Supreme Court, Reinbrecht was found guilty in 2015 of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
He was sentenced to three years behind bars, but remained free on bail until 2019 while applications and appeals worked their way through various levels of court.
Reinbrecht’s speedboat was seen by multiple witnesses driving recklessly in the hours and minutes leading up to the crash.
One witness who testified at trial described the boat as “doing donuts” and speeding very close to shore.
The crash took place in darkness near Magna Bay following a post-Canada Day fireworks display.
Police found a large quantity of empty liquor containers in Reinbrecht’s boat and emergency crews reported he smelled like liquor and was stumbling at the scene.
Reinbrecht applied for parole in August 2019, but was denied.
In its decision last summer, Parole Board of Canada officials described Reinbrecht as having “little victim empathy” and viewing himself as the victim.
That has changed slightly, according to parole officials. In its most recent decision, made public on Tuesday, Reinbrecht was described as having “demonstrated growth in this area.”
The PBC decision quotes a correctional plan, stating: “While he does not take full responsibility for the offence, he does recognize some poor decisions leading up to it, such as choosing to go boating late at night.”
Reinbrecht was denied full parole, but granted day parole for a period of six months. He must live under strict conditions in a halfway house, is barred from possessing or consuming drugs or alcohol and is required to abide by an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.