Ontario Criminal

Criminal Law


Dangerous driving causing death

Judge did not misunderstand or misapply legal standard for dangerous driving

Accused’s vehicle crashed into front entrance of department store when she was reversing out of parking spot. Two people were injured, and two children lost their lives. Trial was held of accused charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Trial judge convicted accused of lesser included offences of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Judge held that accused’s manner of driving was marked and substantial departure from what was expected of reasonable driver. Judge found that accused intended to slam on brakes, but applied pressure to gas pedal to point it was compressed right to floor, and did not take any corrective measures. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Judge did not misunderstand or misapply legal standard for dangerous driving and found that accused’s failure to take corrective action was marked departure from standard of care. Judge did not misapprehend evidence regarding accused’s driving behaviour and corrective action. Judge’s finding that accused’s foot could not have become caught in pedal as described by accused was reached by applying common sense and considering all evidence. Verdict was not unreasonable.

R. v. Burger (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 1350, 2017 ONCA 101, H.S. LaForme J.A., Paul Rouleau J.A., and David Brown J.A. (Ont. C.A.); affirmed (2015), 2015 CarswellOnt 9492, 2015 ONCJ 349, Jonathon C. George J. (Ont. C.J.

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