Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Halifax Cops Issue Warning about Man Convicted of Impaired Driving Causing Death

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Halifax Cops Issue Warning about Man Convicted of Impaired Driving Causing Death

Article excerpt

Warning issued about convicted drunk driver

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HALIFAX - Halifax police have taken the unusual step of warning all Nova Scotia residents about a man deemed a high risk to re-offend after serving a seven-year sentence for impaired driving causing the deaths of two young people from Cape Breton.

After Michael Gerard Cooper's conviction in 2007, the Parole Board of Canada said he told them he would likely continue drinking and driving, which prompted the board to deny him an early release.

Halifax Regional Police issued a statement Tuesday under its high-risk offender protocol saying the 55-year-old was expected to move to the Halifax area after his release from New Brunswick's Dorchester Penitentiary the same day. The police warning was accompanied by a photo of Cooper.

Cooper's case attracted national attention after the parents of a teenager who died in a collision with Cooper's vehicle asked Nova Scotia authorities to provide Cooper's name and photo to liquor stores, bars and other licensed establishments.

As part of his release, Cooper must meet several conditions, including a lifetime driving ban and a two-year order to abstain from buying, possessing or drinking alcohol.

Mike Maloney of the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp., which owns the province's liquor stores, said it was instructing all of its employees that they should call 911 if Cooper is spotted in any of their outlets.

Maloney said the Crown agency has a standard protocol when it comes to restricting the sale of alcohol to those facing court conditions, adding that the only thing unusual about Cooper's case is that employees across the province are being alerted.

"It's relatively routine," he said. "The system is the same but the scale is larger."

Cooper is required according to his court-ordered conditions to have another photo taken for the police if he changes his appearance.

He was convicted of two counts of impaired driving causing death following a May 2004 crash in Cape Breton that killed Angela Smits, 19, and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Michael MacLean.

Gerard Smits, the woman's father, said he was pleased with the police warning. …

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