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CASE DETAILS

Charge(s): Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle & Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm
Location: Pembroke, Ontario
Our Client(s): Mr. M
Year: 2017
Lawyer: T. Edmund Chan
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Please Note: Past results not predictive of future results.

The Background

Mr. M  is a driver by trade. He makes his living driving moving trucks in south eastern Ontario, and had much experience driving both in cities and on open highways. On the day of the accident the road and weather were both clear as Mr. M proceeded through an area of construction. He was not under the influence of alcohol, he was not using a mobile phone, and the only distraction present for Mr. M was his van’s radio, a common enough source of entertainment while driving.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Mr. M and three other vehicles ended up in a collision, and Mr. M was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.

The Goals

As someone employed as a driver, Mr. M’s livelihood was at stake if he was found guilty of these charges. In order to protect his personal reputation and his professional standing we needed an acquittal for Mr. M.

The Strategy

There are two things the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for a successful conviction: that you committed the crime, and that you were mentally at fault for the crime. The job of your defence lawyer is to create that reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt that you committed or we’re mentally at fault, the Court has no choice but to issue a verdict of not guilty.

The Crown attempted to prove that Mr. M was mentally at fault due to negligence leading to the accident. They pointed to the fact that the accident occurred in a construction zone, the speed Mr. Mwas travelling at, and the time he took to adjust his radio. To contrast this, we showed the speed travelled at was common in construction zones, and that adjusting the radio takes only a moment and is an incredibly common practice for drivers. This combined with how honest Mr. M was with authorities and the Crown, even when that truthfulness would not benefit him, was our strategy for getting the verdict of not guilty.

The Results

The judge felt that while the Crown made a compelling case, he was left reasonably doubting that Mr. M was mentally at fault for the crime and issued a verdict of not guilty. Mr. M was free to continue with his life unimpeded. 

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