'Revenge is not justice': Father of boy who died in Nova Scotia highway crash speaks out
The justice system isn't set up to address the real impact to victims, Tom Servaes said.
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Tom Servaes has been through hell.
The Bedford resident is speaking out after the Feb. 16 sentencing of the man responsible for his little boy’s death near Falmouth.
“I'm not angry,” Servaes said. “I'm disappointed that… the criminal justice system is... not built on the underlying premise of repairing the damage, or inquiring about how the damage could be repaired.”
Despite living through a parent’s worst nightmare, Servaes is hopeful changes can be made to the justice system for victims.
Mohammad Younus' 18-wheeler slammed into the back of a vehicle stopped at a construction site on Highway 101 July 9, 2013.
Evan Servaes, 6, was killed as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. A little girl in the car received serious injuries, including a concussion and fractures to the eye orbital.
Younus was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison on Tuesday for dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. He is prohibited from driving for seven years.
The Montreal-based truck driver expressed remorse for his actions at the hearing. A Punjabi interpreter told the court Younus asked “forgiveness from the victims' family” and “forgiveness from God.”
Servaes said that moment in court was the first time he heard anything from the people involved in the crash.
“I know that Mr. Younus said he was remorseful,” he continued. “I don't know what that means because that was the first time that he had expressed that, and it wasn't addressed to us – it was addressed to the judge.”
Servaes said the people there for the victims are often family members and friends — or complete strangers.
The Dawson family, who were driving Servaes' son the day of the crash, were among the first to offer comfort.
“They were the first supports to us when we saw each other in the hallway of the IWK … which I think is where the beginnings of that gap (in the justice system) became obvious to me,” Servaes said.
People rallied to provide love, support and financial help as the Servaes family grappled with the loss. A funeral home provided Evan’s memorial service free of charge. Servaes said he could never repay those who helped.
“I can honestly say that I owe some people my life,” he said.
He added there was no help or sentence the justice system could dole out that would be satisfactory.
“It's very simple. Revenge is not justice, so no punishment could go anywhere, make any headway, towards justice for the victims,” he said.
Servaes said would like to see a more restorative justice approach. He said that would be more in line with Canadian values and would give victims a chance to come to terms with their loss.