Dangerous Driving Causing Death – Acquittal

The accused was driving five friends back to a bush party in a 4 wheel drive truck. He was driving along on a two-way rural paved road which was flat and there were six occupants of the vehicle. The driver was said to have been driving fast and the vehicle started to lose control while they were approaching a bridge and were coming out of a bit of a dogleg in the road. There was a sudden loss of control and an accident occurred which took one young man’s life and others were injured. The Crown brought expert evidence with respect to reconstructing the accident.

Defence Action
Argument by the defence was that in all the circumstances, the driver was not a marked departure from the norm, and that the court couldn’t be satisfied that the conduct amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the defendant’s case.

Decision
The BC Supreme Court Judge drew the inference that the accused was traveling at a speed higher than the speed limit but not one which was so high that he would lose traction prior to crossing the bridge. He stated that there will be occasions where speed alone in the circumstances results in finding dangerous driving but that in this instance, the speed is unclear and not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused started to lose control of his truck. He was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the driving was criminal and the accused was acquitted.

British Columbia Supreme Court, December 3, 2010, Vernon Registry 43997