Judge throws book at repeat driving offender with dozens of convictions

60 convictions, did it again

A Vernon man with 60 driving convictions, multiple drunk driving convictions that put him behind bars, and who was caught no less than nine times behind the wheel while disqualified, will go to jail again for his 10th and 11th convictions.

Dennis Rae Dafoe will serve eight months in jail and lose his licence for an additional three years after that for an offence near Vernon on April 24, 2022, in which he was caught driving at 121 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.

Judge Jeremy Guild gave Dafoe an additional 12-month conditional sentence under house arrest and three-year prohibition for the second offence, in Vancouver on May 28, 2022, in which he received an immediate roadside prohibition for blowing a 'warn' on a roadside screening device.

The recently posted Feb. 17 BC Provincial Court judgment notes that pleaded guilty to both charges and that both Crown and defence sought a joint submission of concurrent sentences of 120 days incarceration, a $1,000 fine on each offence, and a driving prohibition of three years.

However, Guild wrote: "The sentences proposed are incredibly lenient in all the circumstances. A concurrent sentence would not give any proportionate, meaningful sentence for the Vancouver offence, as it would amount to a $1,000 fine...

"There are significant reasons to believe that a far harsher sentence is required... Denunciation and deterrence require more significant sentences.

"To drive home the message to Mr. Dafoe that he cannot drive while he is prohibited and without a valid licence, a significant sentence is required."

Guild slammed Dafoe's repeated infractions.

"The circumstances of the Vancouver offence are aggravated. He had been caught driving just over a month before, where he acknowledged he knew he was not permitted to do so. Being caught would serve as a reminder of the consequences. He decided to consume alcohol and drive anyway. The only mitigating factors are his guilty pleas, which he intended to do early on. But that was simply an acknowledgment of the inevitable. It deserves minimal credit."

Dafoe, 54, also faces an unrelated civil court matter in April and was recently diagnosed with cancer.
While Dafoe struggles with depression and anxiety, Guild found his mental health was not a factor in the offences.

"The cause of my concern with the joint submission is Mr. Dafoe’s criminal history, especially that related to driving. He has a total of 60 previous convictions, between 1988 and 2021. He has seven convictions for failing to abide by court orders, and 36 convictions relating to dishonesty. He has four convictions for driving after having consumed too much alcohol," Guild wrote.

"He was convicted of operation of a motor vehicle while impaired or with excessive blood alcohol in 1988, 1995 and 2002. In 2004, he was convicted of driving while impaired and causing bodily harm, for which he received a 12-month sentence in addition to serving three months of pre-trial custody, and a five-year driving prohibition."

He has been convicted nine times for driving while disqualified: in 1996, 2004, 2008, 2009, twice in 2014, in 2021, as well as nine months and again 10 months after he was released from jail after his last conviction.

His current driving prohibitions will run until 2034.

Guild said Dafoe's comments "simply reinforce my view: he believes he gets to drive when he wants, and he is willing to go to jail if he is caught.

"Driving is a privilege. It is not a right. He has lost that right many times. These offences show he still does not care. The only means for rehabilitation is deterrence."

Dafoe must also pay a victim fine surcharge.

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