Man who killed wheelchair user while driving impaired gets day parole

MONTREAL — A recidivist drunk driver who was handed a life sentence after he struck and killed a woman in a wheelchair in 2008 has been granted day parole.

The Parole Board of Canada ruled that granting Roger Walsh more liberty does not pose an unacceptable risk to society and may help favour his reintegration.

Walsh, 67, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death in Dec. 2008 for mowing down Anee Khudaverdian as she was out with her dog on her 47th birthday. At the time, the prosecution sought to have Walsh declared a dangerous offender, arguing he had 18 previous impaired driving conditions and was unlikely to change.

In its Dec. 12 decision, the Parole Board noted Walsh has maintained his sobriety while behind bars, behaved well during escorted leaves and job programs, and has made progress in areas such as motivation, personal responsibility and introspection.

However, they denied him full parole, noting his long criminal record and past history of violating parole conditions warrant a more "gradual and structured" return to society.

Walsh's day parole is for six months and includes the conditions that he not drive, drink alcohol or contact Khudaverdian's family. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2019

The Canadian Press