Sentence upheld for B.C. senior who 'elaborately concocted alibi' in fatal accident

Sentence upheld for senior

B.C.’s Court of Appeal has rejected a woman’s appeal saying she had an “elaborately concocted alibi’ and failed to provide evidence of medical conditions she claimed.

Linnea Louise Labbee, 74, was convicted of having control of a vehicle involved in an accident with another person and — with the intent to escape liability, failing to stop her vehicle, give her name and address, and offer assistance, knowing that bodily harm was caused to the person and reckless as to whether death ensued.

The May 4 ruling, released May 25, said Labbee was driving her pickup truck in Chilliwack under the speed limit when she hit and killed 73-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian in a crosswalk.

“After striking and driving over top of the victim, Ms. Labbee pulled her truck over and stopped,” the ruling said. “She looked back at Ms. Firoozian lying motionless on the ground, but after a moment sped away and drove straight to a nearby mall.”

The court said that Labbee “falsely claimed that she had been at the mall all day and suggested that her truck had been stolen from the parking lot by a woman who panhandled at the mall.”

She represented herself at trial.

Then, the court said, Labbee maintained the false alibi in the several years leading up to trial and forged letters from fictional witnesses and a bank manager to support it.

“In the letters, Ms. Labbee continued to put the blame on someone else and falsely accused the police of serious misconduct,” the court said.

She was sentenced to two years less a day in jail, followed by two years probation.

The sentencing judge noted Labbee’s past, including four years without a licence, a conviction for contempt of court and several convictions for dishonest behaviour.

In her appeal, Labbee claimed the court relied on her attempts to mislead as a significant aggravating factor and failed to give sufficient weight to her health issues. She contended the sentence was unfit and should be replaced with a conditional sentence order or nine months of incarceration.

The appeal court said it was the obstructionist behaviour following the offence and during the police investigation that the sentencing judge considered aggravating.

As for health conditions, the appeal court said Labbee provided no independent evidence of her medical conditions, despite the judge strongly suggesting that she do so.

But, the appeal court said, the judge nonetheless accepted Labbee had health issues and that jail would not be easy for her. Further, the judge found the medical issues could be accommodated in prison and, more importantly, expressly took those issues into account in determining a sentence.

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