TORONTO – The widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford was given a suspended sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to impaired driving, with a judge finding she had placed herself and others at risk.
Renata Ford must serve three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a two-year driving ban, and must pay a fine of $1,100 for the 2016 incident, the judge ruled.
“(Ford) put herself in danger, she put other members of the public in danger,” Judge Ted Kelly said. “The offence is serious.”
Ford kept a relatively low profile during her late husband’s tumultuous mayoral term from 2010 to 2014 but entered the spotlight earlier this month when, in the final days of Ontario’s election campaign, she filed a lawsuit against her brother-in-law, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford.
That suit claims Doug Ford, now Ontario’s premier-designate, and his brother Randy Ford mishandled Rob Ford’s estate and destroyed the value of the family business, depriving Renata Ford and her children of income. Doug Ford called the allegations false.
The judge presiding over Renata Ford’s impaired driving case noted that her charge in 2016 came at a “very challenging time,” when she was grappling with the deaths of her husband, aunt and father.
Ford, 47, apologized in court for her actions and said after the sentencing that she was “happy and appreciative” of the judge’s decision.
The Crown had asked for Ford to spend 45 days behind bars and noted she was convicted of failing to provide a breath sample in 1997 and of driving while impaired in 2005. Ford’s lawyer had argued for no jail time and a minimal fine.
Ford was turning into an LCBO parking lot on Dec. 28, 2016, when her vehicle “rubbed up against” another car, according to an agreed statement of facts.
After being helped from her vehicle by witnesses, and asking them not to call the police, Ford tried to buy a bottle of wine but was denied service, court heard. Police found her in the passenger seat of her vehicle and administered a breathalyzer test, which she failed.
She was charged with impaired driving and driving with over 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The latter charge was stayed when she pleaded guilty to impaired driving.
Her lawyer said Ford has been in therapy and undergone treatment at an addiction facility, that she no longer consumes alcohol and has an anti-drunk driving lock in her vehicle.