Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes The Dragon Wins

Back when I used to shadow Homicide Squads for a TV show, there were two items you found pinned to every squad room bulletin board. One was a cartoon, so over photocopied it was barely legible, depicting a half swallowed frog strangling the stork that was eating him under the slogan "Don't Ever Give Up".

never-give-up

It was a reminder to every exasperated/frustrated detective that if they ever lost the will to fight for their victims, the job would eat them alive.

The second item was far more poignant. It was four words: "Sometimes The Dragon Wins".

As in -- sometimes there is no happy ending. Sometimes good does not conquer.

Yesterday, in Toronto, the Dragon won.

Last August, on a night as sweltering as the current heat wave enveloping this city, a terrible tragedy played out on our streets. In a traffic congested town all too familiar with animosity between cars and drivers and those riding bicycles, a collision between those two "cultures" ended in the death of a bike courier named Darcy Allan Sheppard under the wheels of a stylish sports car driven by the province's former Attorney General, Michael Bryant.

Although eye witnesses differed on details and the street surveillance cameras caught only blurred, silent portions of the action, the basic story was that a confrontation between the two (as Bryant drove his wife home from celebrating their anniversary) culminated in Sheppard hanging onto Bryant's Saab convertible as the car sped along the "Mink Mile" of Bloor Street, the city's most exclusive shopping district.

Street-video-of-Bryant-car-800

Again, depending on which bystanders you believe, Sheppard gained control of Bryant's steering wheel or Bryant attempted to shake him off. Either way, Sheppard struck a fire hydrant, lost his grip and hit his head on the curb before the rear wheels of the car went over him.

Bryant drove a further block to a local high end hotel, dialed 911 and turned himself in.

bryant-in-police-car-800

It was a shocking incident that polarized the city over questions of class and culture and how the competing agendas of drivers and cyclists had come to this. Bryant was charged. Vigils were held by cyclists. Newspapers and talk radio debated whether Bryant's social status or Sheppard's outlaw reputation would make a difference to the jury and the verdicts.

darcy 

It never came to that. Our own version of "Bonfire of the Vanities" never got to the courtroom scenes.

Yesterday, a special prosecutor brought in from Vancouver to try the case dropped all charges against Bryant insisting that there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction".

And maybe that's true.

I'm a driver in Toronto and I don't have a lot of time for most of the people I encounter on bicycles. When I was a kid in Regina, your bike needed a license so people could report any missteps you made. You also needed to be equipped with a light, a horn or bell and rear reflectors, making you easier to see and in a better position to warn those who didn't that you were there.

None of those things are required in Toronto, partly due to an aggressive cycling lobby. So, like most people who drive in the city, I've had my share of close calls with bikers and been forced to watch them fly through stop signs or zip the wrong way down a one-way street while I have to obey the traffic rules.

Bike couriers are among the worst offenders. Guys trying to do an impossible job to be sure. But also a tribe that includes a few with little use for the conventions of society. What happens on the pavement aside, you don't have to spend much time downtown without being yelled at for being in their way on the sidewalk or almost mashed as they push their bikes into an elevator on their way to a delivery.

As early stories came out that Sheppard had been drunk and police had asked him to leave his girlfriend's apartment earlier in the evening, more and more people wondered how they would have reacted had they encountered him while they were vulnerable in an open car with their wife.

It certainly would have been difficult to find a jury who hadn't heard about or formed a personal opinion about the case.

That said, as the special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping the charges, it was hard to feel like justice was being served, or that we're all still somehow equal in the eyes of the law.

I don't know why a "special prosecutor" had to be brought in to handle the case, although it makes sense that you can't have a local Crown prosecuting his former boss without somebody questioning the possibility of impropriety. But when this special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping charges, I couldn't help feeling a greater impropriety was taking place with somebody in charge who would never need to face much local scrutiny or accountability.

Instead of making sure Michael Bryant didn't get preferential treatment, what was revealed yesterday suggested that's exactly what he received.

Prosecutors and Bryant's legal team seemed to share an inordinate amount of information and a lot of time and money was spent investigating the character of the deceased while hard forensic evidence (or the fact it had never been collected) seemed of lesser importance. It was as if both sides were trying the case in private, searching for a path to make it all go away. 

They quickly found it in the personality of Darcy Allan Sheppard.

darcy3

Shortly after the incident, other drivers recognizing him from photographs came forward to describe being similarly attacked. With their assailant unable to argue the charges, and since none of them ever made a formal complaint to the police prior to his death, there's no way of proving their attacker was actually Darcy Sheppard, or if he was even at the locations of the attacks at the times they occurred.

A lawyer with a firm whose offices overlook the downtown street corner where bike couriers gather snapped several pictures of Sheppard allegedly attacking a driver who was on the wrong side of the street (photo above). But like those drivers, he didn't do anything with the photos until after Sheppard was dead.

Now, doesn't that strike you as odd? Why claim what you photographed is an altercation between a courier and a motorist, even though you couldn't hear what was said, don't know what precipitated it or even if it was a guy just horsing around. How is that evidence of anything?

What's more, if you're a lawyer in that neighborhood, it's quite possible the self same miscreant courier picks up or drops off packages at your office from time to time. If you've got a record of somebody that belligerent, aren't you doing something to make sure he doesn't come around your place of business -- like finding out who he is and maybe calling his boss?

Yet according to interviews with Sheppard's employers, everybody liked him and nobody ever complained about him.

Still, this was enough for the special prosecutor to ignore standard legal practice which does not allow you to introduce evidence of past behavior as proof that the guy "was a shit and deserved what he got".  Yet he did so by quoting an obscure 30 year old case where exactly that was allowed because the actions were "highly distinctive or unique as to carry a signature".

Funny how that's never been allowed in trials of gang shootings. But anyway…

Verifiable beyond a reasonable doubt or not, the testimony of these individuals was accepted as enough for the prosecutor to conclude that Darcy Sheppard "was the aggressor in the confrontation that resulted in his death".

But that ignores the physical evidence available -- or which was never obtained.

Here's surveillance video of the accident.

The first segment shows Bryant's 1995 Saab convertible waiting at a red light as Sheppard pulls into the lane in front of him. Bryant claims that at this point his car stalled and in starting it, it jumped ahead touching Sheppard's rear tire. So far, no harm, no foul -- although Bryant has struck a cyclist.

He claims the car stalled a second time and when the car restarted it jumped ahead again -- this time for NINE METERS. That's 27 feet. About 2 and a half car lengths.

Now this strikes me as odd for two reasons. Y'see, I used to drive a 1996 Saab convertible, virtually the same car Bryant was driving. And on the rare occasions when it stalled, two things happened:

1. The Headlights flickered and dimmed.

2. You can't start a Standard transmission car without the clutch engaged or the shift in neutral, both of which prevent it from moving forward.

But in the video, Bryant's headlights don't dim and the forward motion appears to be the result of ACCELERATION.

So did Darcy Sheppard initiate the confrontation, or did something else happen?

Bryant stated that he witnessed Sheppard tossing things on the road and interfering with other traffic. Then this guy was in front of him. Any chance there was a "love tap" to teach him a lesson and maybe a second one after something was said to really make the point?

We'll never know that either, because Michael Bryant will never be cross-examined under oath.

And nobody said much yesterday about his personality beyond what a fine, upstanding member of society he is.

Nobody mentioned that he was known for his "pugnacious streak" or had been an amateur boxer. Nobody mentioned how tough and outspoken he'd always been as a politician, pushing a ban on pitbulls, championing a law to seize the cars of street racers and not only crush them but "crush the parts". Not the sort of guy you'd expect to back down from a scrap or suddenly panic.

What really made him cover those initial 27 feet shown in the second part of the video, ending up with Sheppard sprawled across and then tumbling from his hood?

Was he drunk? Don't know, despite an accident in which there had been a loss of life, the police never administered a breathalyzer test or took a blood sample. In fact, they never even took a formal statement from him.

Was he telling Darcy Sheppard, as he had made clear to many political opponents, that he wasn't a guy you fucked with?

If he did, the moment the cyclist was on his hood, he had to know he'd gone too far. I would have and I'm not a lawyer. But his next decision was clearly to leave the scene of the accident -- another criminal act. And the video shows that he made that decision before Sheppard had even risen to his feet.

Before the biker is any kind of a threat, Bryant is reversing his car and high-tailing it out of there.

Sheppard made the fatal mistake of grabbing the car. To stop the man who attacked him from escaping? To exact revenge for being rammed? To be reimbursed for his crushed bike? We'll never know.

What is clear is that Bryant then travelled the length of a football field with a man hanging onto his car. According to the forensic report, the vehicle never exceeded an AVERAGE speed of 34 Kph.

Notice that interesting attempt to sell a low speed incident there?

Average speed 34 Kph. Which since we started at zero means we had to get to 68 Kph in order to "average" 34.

0-68 IN 100 METERS. That's a man standing on the accelerator of a 1995 Saab, if his ran anything like my own in the summer of 2009.

Witnesses you can find in other Youtube clips describe Sheppard as "hanging on for dear life". Was he trying to get control of the car by this point or simply desperate for a better hand hold. Again we'll never know.

All that is inarguable is that whatever was happening with the steering wheel, the guy with his foot on the gas was speeding up, and making Sheppard's situation more precarious.

At what point did he know that it was more dangerous to let go than to keep hanging on?

But the special prosecutor dismissed what the witnesses said they saw anyway, calling them "inconsistent".

This guy is some kind of top notch criminal lawyer and he doesn't know what any cop, any lawyer or anybody who has watched more than one trial can tell you with absolute certainty -- witnesses rarely tell the exact same story.

darcy2

And so, Michael Bryant is a free man with no criminal record. And maybe that's a case of "But for the grace of God…" and maybe it's a guy with friends in high places looking after him.

Sometimes there is not even a pretence of Justice.

Sometimes the Dragon wins without even trying.

Or maybe it's becoming the Dragon's time, a time when we shouldn't look for him to lose anymore.

I've just finished reading Michael Lewis' brilliant book, "The Big Short" about the subprime mortgage trashing of our economy that still hasn't seen anybody charged two years after it happened.

Tonight's news features the Canadian government spending $1 Billion for security alone at next month's G20 conference. Something the city of London accomplished for 1% of that cost a mere 2 years ago.

Included in that expense are tens of millions to make sure the food consumed by the visiting dignitaries is "safe".

Funny how there's money for that and none for the hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal Canadians who've been boiling their drinking water for my entire lifetime, nor any for the hundreds of thousands depending on food banks ever since some of those same dignitaries tanked their livelihoods.

"Connected Guy Found Not Guilty" shouldn't be a headline that surprises anybody these days, least of all me.

What's different here is that even the pretense of fairness is gone. Nobody even tries to sustain the myth that we're all equal any more.

You always knew there was an "us" and a privileged "them". But you could hope there was some balance or at least an occasional reckoning.

There isn't anymore.

It's their world now. We're just allowed to live here.

For now.

UPDATE:

Not 48 hours after the special prosecutor ruled there was "no reasonable prospect for conviction" in the Michael Bryant case, the veracity of two of the six motorist statements used to establish a negative pattern of behavior for Darcy Allan Sheppard have been called into question.

And as some have claimed (including commenters here) that such introduction of past behavior is not as rare in our courts as it might appear to us neophytes in the world of jurisprudence, nobody has offered an explanation as to why this tenet of the law never seems to come up with anything approaching regularity in the trials of gang members, drug dealers or sex offenders.

But for more on the legal aspect of the decision, by a mind far more adept at dissecting how the justice system works in Ontario than I'll ever be, I urge you to read what is posted here.

It's hard to read this content alongside the editorials rationalizing the dropping of charges in this weekend's Toronto newspapers and not come away with the tragic feeling that our courts are not the place where any of us should expect to find justice nor our press not in servitude to something other than the truth.

My apologies if accessing the material makes you feel as incredibly sad as it did me.

But maybe that's where change begins…

Once the Dragon has been revealed, he's suddenly less a mythical figure than a common reptile unable to actually breathe fire and with scales less impervious to attack.

FURTHER UPDATE:

The more you research the dropping of charges against Michael Bryant, the more you come to believe that the special prosecutor and the Ontario justice system cornered the market on white wash and didn't use it sparingly.

And on top of that -- the more you wonder why not one of Toronto's media outlets is willing to question or further investigate what went on.

Here are some things you might find interesting…

Apparently, the Canadian Press filed a "freedom of information" request regarding the special prosecutor that the Province of Ontario declined on the grounds that it was "related to the prosecution". Now that the prosecution is over, it'll be interesting to see if CP or anyone else re-files that request. 

I finally found a copy of the "Executive Summary" of the case here. One of its stunning revelations is just how tenuous the "prior actions of the deceased" which were used to dismiss the charges really are. We were told that "Mr. Sheppard had at least six altercations with other motorists" prior to his death.

While it doesn't appear that charges were filed against the deceased in any of the incidents nor any complaints made to the police, the statements were accepted as accurate and reliable. Yet, they include an incident dated only as "several years prior" involving a 76 year old female driver who did not ID Sheppard until after his death and another in which the complainant thought her attacker was Sheppard but "was not entirely certain".

In another portion of the summary, the Special prosecutor states that "forensic evidence has demonstrated that the Saab (Bryant's car) did not rub against the curb or mount the curb at any time" while discounting testimony by witnesses that the driver was trying to use street furniture to knock Sheppard off his car.

Nowhere does he explain how then, Bryant's car sustained the scrapes and dents visible on the night in question.

450_saab_090901

Curiouser and curiouser…

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, great perspective. I'm a long time driver of manual transmission vehicles, and I am deeply skeptical of Bryant's explanation of events. Interesting to hear, although not surprise, that you didn't have difficulties with your Saab. Of course I would assume that a mandatory recall would have to be in order if Bryant's accusations were even remotely accurate.

I too noticed that the use of average speed was conveniently misleading in an effort at identifying a top speed. I wanted to know how exactly you calculated the 68km/h? This would in fact corroborate the multiple eyewitness reports that Bryant was speeding (reports which were all but discounted by the Crown).

jack oatmon said...

Thanks for writing this. It articulates the frustration at this situation very well. If the man i innocent, so be it, but we'll never know until a jury and judge say so.

I thought the Rule of Law was what made our justice system work. As a lifetime cyclist whose been hit by automobiles twice, both times in which the drivers were in clear violation of traffic laws, I want to know what my rights are on the road. Very few, apparently.

John McFetridge said...

You're right, it is their world now. Maybe it always was, maybe some of us got to visit if we played nice, I don't know.

But I find it interesting that the low chance of getting a conviction was the same excuse used to drop the charges against Rahim Jaffer as well.

We have a lot of cop shows on TV, but these days if someone did a show about crown attornies they might be very surprised how big a factor the chance of conviction and the cost of a conviction plays.

It's changed over the past twenty years, quietly, behind the scenes without many of us noticing.

As a "connected guy's" lawyer said to a cop I know, "You guys have to understand, you don't have the resources to go after this kind of criminal anymore."

moc said...

Good analysis.

However, you do mention that bike lights and bells are not required in Toronto. Not true; there's many different fines that relate to bikes in Toronto, including those to do with lights and bells.

http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/pdf/hta.pdf

Anonymous said...

This condition that you describe is called plutocracy, oligarchy and plutarchy. This is what some have been seeing as happening these days.
Divide and conquer has been used on most people where there is no unity between people to do anything because they have been broken into submission and helplessness against the system.

The White Wolf said...

Wow. This article really should run (in a perfect world) in the mainstream press.

Similarly,

my GF and I were watching a doc on the London Punk scene the other day, and lamenting that a whole new genre of music was created (and isn't all new music?) out of protest to the exploitation of the poor by the rich.

Lamenting because we were hard-pressed to think of an equivalent form of protest today.

"They must be slaves (poor) so we can be free (rich)..."

Is a terrible philosophy for the human race.

You're the Charles Bronson (Paul Kersey) of today Jim, Don't Ever Give Up!

Tadpoles like me need someone to look up to ;)

Anonymous said...

A fairly solid analysis until you (as many others have) accuse Bryant of the criminal act of not remaining at the scene of an accident.

It is possible that Bryant violated the equivalent Highway Traffic Act section, however it only becomes a criminal matter if the individual flees the scene to avoid criminal or civil liability in the matter. As Bryant only drove one block away and immediately called 911, there was clearly no attempt to evade and thus no criminal act.

This is why Bryant was never charged with failure to remain (the two charges were criminal negligence causing death, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death).

Much of this case is murky, however Bryant's actions after Sheppard fell seem to be fairly clear and supportable. You do not have to remain at an accident scene if you have legitimate fear for your personal safety. Bryant, likely not knowing the extent of Sheppard's injuries, drove a safe distance and then reported the incident. There was nothing wrong, morally or legally, with that specific action.

You raise some interesting questions (particularly regarding the lights on the Saab), however you undermine your overall analysis by making statements / accusations that are completely unsupportable in law.

Anonymous said...

First, the "30 year old case" is hardly obscure. The topic is covered in a basic class in evidence law. Second, it's also not clear to me that the prosecutor shared any info with the defence. All that's been said is that the defence shared its info with the Crown. Third, your argument as to "average" speed doesn't make much sense to me—for instance, if the car spent several seconds accelerating to 40km/h and then spent the rest of the time at that speed you could say that the average speed was around 35km/h over the 28 seconds or so. Last, I'm not sure what page of the Executive Summary you're on re the "inconsistent" witnesses but it does sound to me like the witnesses were at least inconsistent with the forensic evidence on some points, which is a little more important than inconsistency between stories. As to that, I'm not sure what you're trying to say. That their inconsistency shouldn't be a bar to I trial? I agree, but I don't think that Peck dismissed their stories out of hand—rather, he probably considered the resulting probative value of the statements, and their predicted effect on a Court, and decided it was a losing hand. Which is something that someone who has worked both in defence and as a prosecutor would be positioned to know.

Anonymous said...

In one of the other camera views the headlights do indeed dim.

Also, with regard to your comment about no one overhearing the confrontation in the photograph, there is an article in the Star that quotes witnesses (including one of Sheppard's friends) who were within earshot of the BMW confrontation.

jimhenshaw said...

Some responses...

The average speed: I just did a simple math calculation using what three numbers would give you 34 as an "average" over the incredibly short 28 second time span.

Bike bells and whistles:

Thanks for the update. I'm only going on personal experience. If there are rules about bikes having lights and bells in Toronto, it sure isn't enforced. Same with all the stop sign and illegal pass regulations.

Failure to remain:

You obviously know the ins and outs of the law "Anonymous", but you also seem confident in what Michael Bryant was thinking at the time.

At the point where he "failed to remain" he had run down a cyclist, the "victim" was on the ground and not a threat. Yet he took off.

Are you certain he wasn't fleeing "criminal or civil liability" at that point?

Yes, he stopped and called in the accident after Mr. Sheppard had been killed. An attempt to do the right thing or a realization that the street was full of witnesses and a guy being dragged by a car is something people tend to notice?

Had there been a trial we might have learned the truth of his motives. Since there won't be one I'm just saying that there's a remaining doubt.

Inconsistent witnesses:

I've attended trials where witnesses offered three or four versions of events. The job of the court and the jury is to decide whom they believe when weighing their testimony against the physical evidence. Often judges will caution a jury that a witness is contradicting other evidence.

But the special prosecutor chose to believe all of those who said they had run-ins with Darcy Sheppard and none who were at the scene of the crime.

Doesn't that strike you as "inconsistent" on his part?

According to newspaper reports this morning one of Darcy Sheppard's accusors has now said he's "not sure" if it was the same guy.

Maybe all the evidence should have been weighed in court. Conviction or no, justice would have been seen to be done. And sometimes that perception means more than the final verdict.

GreyZone said...

I've read so many sides of this from the perspective of people who want to support cyclists and from those who want to support drivers. As a cyclist I know now to mess around in traffic... it's dangerous. On the rare occasion when I'm driving I also know that I am in a giant potentially lethal weapon and need to take care around cyclists and pedestrians.

The sad truth of this case is that both of them were at fault and took actions that endangered lives. The only live that was at the greatest risk was the one on the bike however.

I believe both participants are guilty and Shepperd has already more then paid for his share of the blame, with his life. Now Bryant should be paying for his guilty actions.

So many people try to paint one person as the innocent party in this tragedy but there isn't one.

Anonymous said...

Great, great take.

I also think it's not as one-sided and clear cut as Bryant being innocent.

Sure there may be enough reasonable doubt to drop charges, given all the facts.

But Bryant is not innocent of his part in this at all.

I also can't get over the so-called "second stall". It's as absurd as Kennedy's "magic bullet" theory. Sorry, that's not a stall. That's an acceleration.

Was it intentional? I think he was afraid, and trying to hit the brakes.

But it's interesting to note he was an amateur boxer. Certainly not a characeristic that would make one flee a conflict.

I agree the situation stinks.

Anonymous said...

FAILURE TO REMAIN

Jim - fair comment regarding my assumption as to Bryant's thoughts. Only Bryant knows exactly what he was thinking before, during, and after the altercation. I shouldn't have presumed to know what was going through his head at the time in my reply.

That said, I think that your comment about Sheppard being on the ground and "not a threat" ignores the general panic and confusion of a split-second "fight or flight" decision (flight from Sheppard, not from legal responsibility). Its unlikely that Bryant could have known the extent of Sheppard's injuries and determined that he was no longer a threat. All Bryant would have known for certain was that Sheppard was no longer holding on to his steering wheel. It was logical, and legal, for Bryant to put distance between himself and the perceived threat.

He drove a safe distance (one block) away and then immediately called 911. Not ten minutes later, not ten hours later, immediately upon getting safely away from the situation. That is not indicative or typical behaviour of someone criminally fleeing an accident scene.

It is notable that the police never charged Bryant with failure to remain. They didn't hesitate to charge him with two much more serious crimes, so this isn't an issue of preferential treatment (other aspects of the case may very well be) before the law. There is simply no factual evidence to support, and much to reject, this specific crime that you accuse him of.

As I said in your previous post, there are some pretty compelling questions/issues raised in the rest of your article. The failure to remain accusation, though, simply isn't one of them.

Anonymous (my name is actually Jim as well, strangely enough)

Anonymous said...

"your argument as to "average" speed doesn't make much sense to me—for instance, if the car spent several seconds accelerating to 40km/h and then spent the rest of the time at that speed you could say that the average speed was around 35km/h over the 28 seconds or so"

Except that it was more like 10.5 seconds that it took Bryant to cover the 100 meter distance. I believe we are left to assume the average speed of the vehicle was measured during this 10.5 second interval. If the car took several seconds to get up to the average speed, then it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the top speed was significantly higher than the "average speed" which was the figure provided. 68km/h? No, not likely that fast. But its certainly possible that he was traveling beyond the speed limit at the point of fatal impact.

Does it much matter? No, since most of the defenders of Bryant's actions don't care if he was driving down the wrong side of the road in a construction zone with a man holding onto his car for dear life... because he was "in a state of fear and panic". So a few extra km/h isn't a deal breaker.

What does come into question is why, in nearly every aspect, is the Crown's executive summary so incredibly skewed in the favour of the defense?

Anonymous said...

whole lot of conjecture here, you're no better than the special crown brought in.

Brandon Laraby said...

What I don't get about 'driving a block away to call 911' is:

Where the hell was his Cell phone?

So, both he and his wife are out and neither one of them had a cell phone?

Sounds weird to me... or that he wouldn't just stay at the scene and get the bystanders to call 911.

More likely he panicked and didn't want his face seen in connection with the accident so he went to the hotel 'a block away' to call 911.

Still seems like fleeing the scene of the crime to me.

Anonymous said...

The lights on the Saab may appear to flicker or change intensity due to some tree leaves and branches overhanging there at the corner.
Some interesting points in the brief "Part of that investigation examined information provided to the Crown by the defence.""Defence disclosure included...as well as permitting the Crown to interview both Mr. Bryant and his wife, Ms. Abramovitch." "...observed a cyclist, who she later believed to be Mr. Sheppard""a man, later identified as Mr. Sheppard,...." Four photographs (we only were shown three). "A cyclist, later identified as Mr. Sheppard, ....""The motorist saw pictures of Mr. Sheppard in the media the following day and identified him as the cyclist she had seen the day before, ALTHOUGH SHE WAS NOT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN."

Anonymous said...

Why Michael Bryant will never see the inside of a court room is clear: He's a liar and he's a murderer. If he had to testify under oath, then he'd also have to explain why he had a passenger who did not resemble his wife, and why that passenger took off after he stopped at the Hyatt hotel, before the police could take a statement from either Bryant or that person. Michael Bryant received special treatment right from the beginning. The police never administered a breathalyzer or blood test, even though the law states that once arrested, the alleged DUI must submit to the test or else they could be charged with resisting arrest. So how did Bryant get away with it? The police accepted his word that he didn't drink. Then we have to read through this executive summary that Peck wrote about how Darcy Sheppard had a high blood alcohol content, and this somehow was responsible for his behavior that night. But nothing was ever mentioned of what could have affected Bryant's judgment.
What has happened here is that Richard Peck, the man assigned to protect the victim, has in fact sentenced Darcy Sheppard to death. He appeared to be working for the defense team, or at least copied everything they came up with, and rather than question the data or even poke a stick at Bryant's character, his energy was focused at destroying Sheppard's character.
When we find out later the Peck was from BC and shared a similar background to Michael Bryant, it makes me wonder how hard they really tried to find an impartial attorney.

Anonymous said...

Michael Bryant should have been charged with failure to remain. In fact, there were two incidents of failure to remain. The first was when he knocked down the cyclist Darcy Sheppard. The second was when he knocked off pedestrian Darcy Sheppard. Once Sheppard had been knocked off the vehicle, Michael Bryant should have stopped his vehicle as soon as he crossed back to the proper side of the street. But he didn't, instead, he chose to drive around the corner out of sight of the crime scene (I would call it that, even though the police would call it an accident scene). There, out of sight, he let off his passenger who may have been running off with any kind of evidence connected to Michael Bryant's state of mind that night. If it was any other citizen, they would have been charged with failure to remain, and it would have been up to the court to decide whether his life had been in jeopardy or not at that moment.
Michael Bryant was traveling at high speeds through a construction zone. Why he wasn't charged with speeding is also not clear.
Bryant was the former AG. He and his wife are lawyers. If they were both in the car, then they knew exactly what they were doing when they parked out of view and the wife ran off before the police arrived. It seems like from the very beginning, Michael Bryant was receiving special treatment, and he barely spent 8 hours behind bars. He didn't even have to wait for a bail hearing before they let him out, which is highly unusual. I remember they made excuses for him indicating that there was no judge available, which seems odd. Were they all on vacation, and thus the justice system ground to a halt? How many other people were allowed to go home that week because all of the bail hearing judges were unavailable?

Anonymous said...

As a car driver, I have been told and made to know that if I hit a car or anything else in fromt of me causing any accident that I am at fault by the law. Thus, if I rear end someone or something then I am automatically at fault because it is my responsibility as a driver to be able to stop safely. It appears that a bike was rear ended here and that someone was hit by being rear ended and knocked on the hood of a car and off on to the road by a driver that did not properly control a car safely (accidentally or intentionally) and even tried to drive around a bike to get away from a collision. This caused everything else to happen. Rear ending anyone or anything makes the person doing it guilty no matter what even if one's car has car trouble stopping or even if it was bad weather. Many people have been charged for doing much less such as hitting a tree or post by losing control of one's car accidentally. Am I mistaken in assuming that I am responsible for controlling and maintaining my vehicle as best as possible so that I don't rear end anyone whether accidentally or intentionally?

Hume said...

Please sign and promote/forward this petition seeking justice for Darcy Sheppard:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-darcy-sheppard/signatures.html

Thank you

Hume Baugh