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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

Man Appealed Dangerous Driving Conviction: Nobody was Endangered

An Alberta man appealed his conviction for dangerous driving on the basis that no person was endangered.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench reviewed the facts of the case:

The facts as found by the trial judge can be briefly summarized.

a.         On October 3, 2013, Candace Milley, a private investigator hired by an insurance company was following the Appellant in relation to an insurance claim. She began following him when he drove his vehicle from his Edmonton residence, followed him to his parents’ residence on a rural road near Morinville, and then back into the City.

b.         At some point, Ms. Milley realized that the Appellant had spotted her so she broke off surveillance and informed her boss by telephone she had done so. They agreed he would take over surveillance. Before driving home, Ms. Milley decided to drive by the parents’ residence one more time to ensure the Appellant was there to make it easier for her boss.

c.         The Appellant was at his parents’ farm speaking to his father in the yard and telling him about being followed, when he saw Ms. Milley drive past. He and his father decided to “go catch the car”. They wanted to identify the driver because of issues that had occurred in the past that they wrongly thought were related to the surveillance. They got into a truck to follow Ms. Milley. The Appellant was driving.

d.         They quickly located Ms. Milley’s car and drove up close behind it then followed her before passing her and then stopping in the middle of the road. This prevented her from passing. Both the Appellant and his father then got out of the truck and approached Ms. Milley’s car. She testified that she was very frightened and reversed her vehicle into a nearby driveway and drove in the opposite direction.

e.         The Appellant turned his own vehicle around and again drove up to Ms. Milley’s bumper then passed her and stopped his vehicle, once again disabling Ms. Milley from passing. This time Ms. Milley could not turn around and started backing up. Again the Appellant started followed her. He was driving forward; she was backing up trying to escape. The speed of both vehicles was estimated at 50-60 kph by the Appellant. Ms. Milley eventually tried a manoeuvre to turn around. This was not successful and caused her to lose control then come to a stop cross-wise on the road. The Appellant’s vehicle struck Ms. Milley’s vehicle on the driver side front end.

f.         The chase took place on gravel roads. It had been raining and there was mud on the roads, making them somewhat slippery. The speed limit on the roads was 80 kph.

The defence lawyer argued that the Crown must prove that the lives and safety of the public must be endangered for the Actus Reus made out. The Judge found no error:

[15]           As for the Appellant’s specific argument that the actus reus that constitutes dangerous driving cannot be found where a road is little travelled and no one else is actually endangered, this argument was completely answered by our Court of Appeal in R v Edlund, [1990] AJ No 162. In that case, the Court dealt with this very point, reversing a trial judge who acquitted a speeding driver who had been drinking and was being chased by a police vehicle, because there was very little traffic.

The appeal was ultimately dismissed.

Click here to read the case