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Sentencing looms for driver who struck Girl Guides troop, killed child

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The sentencing of a retired teacher convicted of crashing her SUV into a group of young Girl Guides and killing an eight-year-old has been set for next month.

June 20 and 21 have been selected for victim impact statements and submissions from the Crown and defence in the case of Petronella McNorgan, 79. She was found guilty by a jury on April 5 of one count of criminal negligence causing death and seven counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

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The dates were set Tuesday morning during a brief video court hearing before Superior Court Justice Kelly Gorman.

McNorgan was charged on Nov. 30, 2021, after her vehicle crashed into a troop of Embers – young Girl Guides, formerly known as Brownies – while they were walking along Riverside Drive in west London, killing one of them and injuring seven others.

Her defence team has said they are appealing the decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The youngsters had left Riverside United Church and were on their way to play in the fresh snow at a nearby park when they were struck.

McNorgan, who had the vehicle serviced and snow tires installed that morning, was travelling west. The vehicle accelerated through a red light at the intersection at Wonderland Road, hit a Jeep, jumped the curb, hit a street light, then the children before making a 90-degree turn back across Riverside Drive into a park and coming to a stop.

The jury heard the SUV reached speeds as fast as 121 kilometres/hour.

McNorgan claimed the brakes failed and she was pressing the brake pedal to the floor while the SUV continued to accelerate. Several experts testified at the trial that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the brakes or the rest of the SUV.

The identities of the children are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

jsims@postmedia.com

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