After many a swerve and weave, the epic Ottawa drunk driving trial of Dr. Christy Natsis took a road trip to her home town, deep in Cheryl Gallant country, for sentencing Oct 13-14.
The party-girl Pembroke dentist, readers will recall, killed father of three Bryan Casey in a head-on collision in his lane of the 417 near the Ottawa Valley duckburg of Arnprior on March 31, 2011.
She had first fuelled up on wings and chardonnay with a gentleman companion at the Crazy Horse in Kanata (and touched off an impromptu insurance derby in the parking lot) before careening onto the highway in her Ford Expedition.
Redolent of bevvies at the crash site and urgently canvassing witnesses for gum, Natsis blew over twice the limit, those results successfully kiboshed by celeb defence lawyer Michael Edelson (Edelson Clifford D’Angelo Friedman).
A case scheduled for four weeks metastasized into 55 days, concluding — despite Edelson’s tireless argument, emphasis that Casey himself had had a few pops that night, and famously hypnotic eyebrows — with convictions for impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
At sentencing, following wrenching victim impact statements from Casey’s widow LeeEllen and father Gus, Natsis broke her four-year silence and Novocaine affect to croak her vocal-fried regret, solicitude to the bereaved and intent to behave going forward.
Edelson introduced a hundred letters attesting to her sterling character and charitable works, a count padded by a mail-out to patients. Her practice, with husband Bruce Harle, serves some 4,000 patients–many of whom were solicited for a kind word in the good doctor’s hour of need.
Prosecutor John Ramsay is looking for 6-8 years, Edelson 3-and-a-half to 4. A breach of conditions (Natsis was caught by police buying a couple mickeys of vodka at the Rideau Street LBCO in Nov. 2011) will add 40 days to the tab, to be tallied back in Ottawa November 12.
And with that, Natsis was whisked away from the court in an SUV (another Ford Expedition, as it happened) which almost backed over press hacks in the haste of the extraction, and left behind the lingering question of how much this interminable trial has cost her.
Will Edleson pocket a million dollars from the marathon, as widely rumoured?
Ottawa Mayor Leisure Suit Larry O’Brien wisely invested $750,000 in Edelson’s services to beat his bogus bribery rap. Maggie Trudeau and dry cleaning magnate Bruce Hillary have also relied upon the coruscating legalist to defeat their own drunk-driving difficulties.
Mercifully, Natsis, the adopted daughter of moneybags Michigan lawyer Christ G. Natsis, is less susceptible to legal sticker shock than your average molar-jerker, and her real estate assets alone are good for seven figures.
Her spacious Pembroke home at 499 O’Brien Street is assessed for 2015 at $745,000. (Edelson’s firm registered a $250,000 charge on the property in May 2011). Bruce and Christy’s dental office, within walking distance of their home, bears a 2015 assessment of $723,000.
Justice, after all, must not only be done, but be paid to be done.