An aboriginal man who argued that “white man’s law” shouldn’t apply to him as he was arrested for his 13th impaired driving offence has been sentenced to two years in jail.
Crown attorney Jim Ross said that, contrary to Richard Myran’s view, aboriginal culture wouldn’t approve of endangering lives.
Impaired driving laws are in place for everyone’s benefit, Ross said.
“I hope that was just the beer talking,” Ross said of Myran’s comments upon his arrest. “It’s not white man’s law, it’s a law that protects us all, including aboriginal people.”
Ross made the comment in court on Thursday as Myran was sentenced for refusing to provide a breath sample and for driving while disqualified.
Myran was driving a pickup truck in the early morning of Oct. 20 when he made a turn onto the Trans-Canada Highway without stopping for oncoming traffic.
A patrolling RCMP officer had to brake hard to avoid colliding with the truck and pulled Myran over.
Myran admitted that he didn’t have a licence and, slurring, he told the officer that he’d just come from a bar and had drank 12 beer.
Four cans of beer, including one that was half empty, were found in the truck.
Myran, 54, was under a lifetime driving ban at the time due to a previous conviction for refusing to provide a breath sample.
Back at the RCMP detachment, he repeated history and refused to supply a breath sample. According to police, he claimed that the law shouldn’t apply to him and made numerous references to “white man’s law.”
He indicated that his refusal to co-operate was a protest of the law and establishment.
Myran is from Long Plain First Nation, and in court defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki referred to Myran’s troubled aboriginal background.
Myran’s mother had raised him “not to like white people,” Sieklicki said.
Both of Myran’s parents had attended residential school, an experience that seems to have been especially negative for his mom. She seems to have suffered abuse at some point, although it’s not clear who inflicted that abuse.
Myran has said his mom would tell him stories about how “white people” had treated her, and that seemed to be a source of anger for Myran as he grew up.
Sieklicki said Myran has since moved beyond stereotypes but his old feelings resurface when he drinks.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta sentenced Myran to two-years-less-a-day in jail, minus 139 days pre-sentence custody.
Jail will be followed by one year of probation and once again Myran was banned from driving for life.
As he left the courtroom, Hewitt-Michta cleared up any doubt he may have had as to whether impaired driving laws apply to him.
“Let me tell you that they do,” Hewitt-Michta said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 8, 2013