The Humboldt Broncos tragedy has gripped the nation of Canada and the hockey world and as a result every little detail of the case surrounding the tragedy is being scrutinized and put under the microscope. As a result of the intense scrutiny surrounding this case, as well as the emotionally charged nature of the subject matter, it's perfectly normal that even perfectly normal every day decisions are resulting in serious scrutiny from the public.
On Tuesday Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the 29 year old man from Calgary, Alberta who was behind the wheel of the semi truck that is believed to have caused the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, made his first appearance in a Canadian court to formerly face charges related to the horrible accident that occurred in April of this year. It only took that one appearance however to cause a great deal of public outrage after the judge presiding over the case decided to allow Singh Sidhu to walk out of the court and back to his home with only a very minor bail requested by the court. Singh Sidhu only had to pay $1,000 bail and, although he will have a number of conditions to respect, the minuscule amount caused tremendous uproar given that 16 lives were lost as a result of this man's actions on that fateful day.
As you would expect some members of the families that have been directly impacted by this tragedy were stunned by the decision from the court.
"At least they put some conditions on it," said Russell Herold, a man who lost his son Adam in the crash, as per TSN. "The bail seems low, but I guess if you go by the law — he doesn't have a prior record and hasn't tried to flee so I guess this is common."
"I'd prefer he be kept in jail, but we don't have a choice in that."
Now in defense of the court there is a very good reason behind the decision to give Singh Sidhu a relatively low bail and Herold hit the nose on the head with his comments. In spite of the fact that he could very well spend the rest of his life behind bars Singh Sidhu has shown no signs that he intends to flee the country and he does not have a prior criminal history. Additionally as part of his bail he will have to remain in his basement apartment n Calgary and has been forbidden to get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle, unsurprisingly.
Scott Thomas who also lost his son in the tragic accident showed up in court today despite the fact that he expected the man allegedly responsible for his son's death to get bail.
"It was what we expected. We kind of expected that he would get bail," said Thomas. "I just wanted to come today and represent the families who maybe wanted to be here that couldn't be here, and at least have a presence in the building. Maybe he would feel a bit responsible for taking our sons' lives."
It sounds like Thomas intends to show up in court if this does indeed go to trial, but stated that his desire to be present today stemmed from his need to look Singh Sidhu directly in the eyes.
"In case this goes to a plea bargain, at least he can put my face to it," he said. "That's all I wanted to accomplish today ... to hopefully see him face to face and, in case this never goes to trial, he's seen my face."
I can't imagine what Thomas, Herold, and the other families impacted by this are going through but I believe that this roller coaster of emotions is far from over.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press