Guilty plea, sentencing in hit-and-run case of Tyler Brooks
Toby Van Lieshout, 35, has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left then 10-year-old Tyler Brooks in a coma.
Van Lieshout sobbed in the prisoner's box as the plea was entered and before his sentencing he told the court "[I'm] sorry for what I did. I'd give my life to bring that little boy back to who he was before this happened."
Following a joint submission, Van Lieshout was then sentenced to three-and-a-half years behind bars.
Crown attorney Laura Casey told the court "There is a moral obligation to stop and assist a child, and Mr. Van Lieshout didn't have that decency."
Meanwhile Van Lieshout's lawyer Damon Hardy says "Obviously a high degree of guilty and remorse, I think he's happy about the fact that he's been able to come clean today."
The Ingersoll man was charged after Brooks was struck while riding his bicycle on the sidewalk along Wexford Avenue in east London in October 2013.
Van Lieshout was driving with a suspended licence at the time and fled the scene.
He was facing counts including leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily harm and careless driving.
In delivering the sentence, among the most severe for those offences, Justice Jeanine LeRoy said "You've shown a complete disregard for humanity. I hope the memory of this little boy stays with you each morning, each afternoon and each and every night for the rest of your life."
Van Lieshout's wife, Rebecca Smith is also facing charges in connection with the incident. She has pleaded guilty to to being an accessory after the fact and is expected to be sentenced in March.
Brooks awoke from his coma in December 2013, but remains in a Toronto hospital. He suffered serious head trauma and there are many questions about his recovery.
At the hearing, the boy's family was also in tears.
Connie Brooks says her son is in a fragile state, "It's not fair that Tyler is not able to eat, he's not able to drink, he's not able to move...he is the most energetic and happy kid even though all this bad stuff has happened to him...He doesn't know what's going on, he doesn't know why he's in bed all day, he doesn't understand."
Father Louis Szabo says "I really don't think he was sorry, I really don't, beause what he [did], he just left him there."
Connie adds "It's not fair that my son gets a life sentence and this guy gets three years. It's not."