"The Power of One"

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  • Victim Impact Statement

    The third anniversary of Brian's brutal murder has come and gone. Since I never got the chance to address his incomprehensible death in court, I thought I would do it this way.

    The Victim Impact statement in Canada is nothing like its US counterpart in several ways.

    In Canada is it a condescending act bestowed upon the peons by the judicial aristocracy with the hope that you will simply fade away into oblivion. The Judicial aristocracy doesn't want your input; they have been forced to allow minimal trespassing of the electorate in their courtrooms by the lobbing of victim impact groups.

    The presiding judge wants your Statement well in advance of the trial and then he/she will maybe allow only 1 or 2 people to stand up in court and tearfully recite it.

    In Canada,

    1. The trial judge and jury do not give any weight to Victim Impact Statements. They do in the US.

    2. The Victim Impact statement in Canada is censored by the trial judge. He/she edits your statement. He/she tells you what you can say or cannot say. You are told that you can only talk about how the violent act affected your life.

    3. You cannot call the offending act a 'murder' even though it is.

    4. You cannot get into the witness box and tell the offender what you think of him/her. You cannot tell the offender that you think he/she is a piece of garbage and hope he rots in hell. You would get thrown out. In the US, you can do that.

    If the charges against the perpetrator had not been stayed, the trial for the murder of Brian would be happening right about now.

    There were four of us who were preparing a Victim Impact Statements; myself; Brian's daughter, Mikita; Brian's wife, Karen; and Brian's sister, Heather. Ron elected not to do it because of the hypocrisy surrounding this court event.

    Of the four of us, I have no idea if I would have been allowed to do this.

    Rather than talk about how this catastrophic event shaped our lives (it was all negative) I decided to accentuate the positive. Especially in a murder trial - whereby the defence attorney trashes the victim and drags their name through the mud - all in the game to get his client set free.

    Good idea - put him back out on the street where he can perhaps commit armed robbery next.

    This is what I would have said………

    Good Morning. I am Angela Ludwig, Brian's mother.

    On behalf of my husband, Ron and myself, rather than take you on a verbal journey into the horror that Brian's violent death has thrown us, I want this court and the jury to know more about the son we lost and to recognize how extra-ordinary he truly was.

    Other than his uncommon natural athletic ability and his mathematical genius, his most remarkable qualities were his human ones.

    Brian was born smiling and with a natural love for all people; Brian never met a person he didn't like and in return, almost everyone who met Brian liked him back; he had a very kind and gentle nature.

    He was very kind to animals.

    He didn’t just enter a room..........he burst into a room with gusto...........no matter how many people were in the room, he claimed it.

    As a family, we always thought he was special, but since his death, many of his friends and acquaintances have verbalized to me that “we didn’t know what we had until we lost him”.

    To quote a business associate of ours, Hank Wieler, an older gentleman who has no children, and who worked with Brian for many years, said to me one day "Brian is the nicest young man I have ever met. He is a good man. If I had ever had a son, I would want him to be just like Brian….."

    Sometimes the words of other people can convey a more adequate testimony to someone's character than a parent. If I can, I would like to read some funeral cards that many of Brian's friends took the time to fill out at his funeral:

    Richard said " My favorite memory of him is his smile - always big, bright and sincere……….."

    Dave said "when times got tough [in team competitions], Brian always brought us up…[when we were losing], he would say, don't worry about it….he always had the right things to say….."

    Bob said "my favorite memory of him is that wonderful smile, quick wit and intelligence….."

    Daryl said "I consider myself a good judge of character. In Brian's case, I was a good judge of great character. Brian was Loving, Understanding, Devoted, he was a winner, he had integrity and he was giving……I have known Brian for only 3 years, but I am envious of the friends and family that have known him for so long…."

    Bryan and Jenn said "Brian always had a permanent smile on his face, even when he wasn't intending to. He will be greatly missed! ....."

    Rod Jenkins, his friend for over 30 years said "I can tell you with confidence that Brian was not a bully. He didn’t have to be, he was a big man and he knew that would protect him. I have seen him in the bar before and he would never have started the fight but was not one to back down from one. I can see Brian holding the guy back with one hand and not even throwing a punch……."

    When Brian became a devoted and doting father, his uncle, Scott Andrew, remarked "I didn't know Brian was going to be such a good father……I didn't know he had that in him……."

    And finally, a high school teacher, Brian Utley, once said to me "Brian is such a well-behaved and well-mannered young man."

    When his life at the age of 42 years was snuffed out so brutally in the early Sunday morning hours on the 26th August, 2012, by a single cowardly punch to the back of his head, he was just starting to hit his stride. He had dreams - a 20 year vision - that he was enacting upon.

    For the last 3 years of his life, he had been involved with city planners and environmentalists about a 53 acre parcel of land that he was going to develop into recreational lots. He dreamt big.

    Yes he had dreams and he was following his dreams.

    Brian was everything we could have wished for in a son and more…..

    Thank-you for listening to me.

    ANGELA LUDWIG

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