Beyond a reasonable doubt


Mess Media, November 4, 2009

Lawyer Michael Cochrane wrote a piece in The Mark advocating the acquittal of Michael Bryant in the killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard. The problem with reading anything written by lawyers is that they sometimes cherry pick the facts and set up flimsy straw men to knock over.

Here is Cochrane`s list of the”facts” that the Court will hear in Bryant`s case:

1. He was driving home with his wife from an anniversary celebration, moving slowly through an area under construction on Bloor Street.
2. While stopped, angry words were exchanged with Sheppard.
3. Sheppard appears to have been impaired and had just left a confrontation with police.
4. Sheppard struck Bryant’s vehicle with his courier bag.
5. Sheppard grabbed onto Bryant’s car, and possibly Bryant himself.
6. A struggle ensued, as the vehicle careened down the wrong side of Bloor Street.
7. Sheppard fell and was killed.

Let’s take a closer look at Cochrane’s facts in detail and compare them with the current public knowledge of the evidence

1. He was driving home with his wife from an anniversary celebration, moving slowly through an area under construction on Bloor Street.

Where does Cochrane get the fact that Bryant was moving slowly through an area under construction on Bloor Street? From the video? The video only shows Bryant slowing to a stop at a red light. There is no evidence regarding his speed before.

2. While stopped, angry words were exchanged with Sheppard.

Cochrane omits actual video evidence of Bryant deliberately ramming his car into Sheppard. Is that not a relevant fact for the court to consider? Not if you’re a lawyer whose agenda is to present a defence of you client but Cochrane represents his article as a retelling of the facts not a vigilant defence of his colleague.

3. Sheppard appears to have been impaired and had just left a confrontation with police.

What confrontation? The one where police responded to a neighbour’s complaint stopped Sheppard and then sent him home on his bike after ruling him sober enough to operate a vehicle? The police said Sheppard was NOT impaired. A lawyer familiar with the concept of facts would suggest that judgement be reserved until toxicology results are in.

4. Sheppard struck Bryant’s vehicle with his courier bag.

True but once again Sheppard struck Bryant’s car with his bag AFTER Bryant deliberated rammed his car into Sheppard.

5. Sheppard grabbed onto Bryant’s car, and possibly Bryant himself.

POSSIBLY? Is possibly a word that demonstrates a strong belief in a statement of fact or is it supposition? The video shows that after hitting Sheppard, Bryant backed up and drove around Sheppard in an attempt to flee the scene. It was then that Sheppard grabbed on to the car.

6. A struggle ensued, as the vehicle careened down the wrong side of Bloor Street.

This statement is a misleading and wrong. Eyewitnesses have stated that Bryant intentionally drove on the wrong side of the road to smash Sheppard in to obstacles so that he would fall off the car. “He meant to do it”

7. Sheppard fell and was killed.

It wasn’t the fall that killed Sheppard it was Bryant smashing him into a mailbox, a fire hydrant and anything else Bryant could find.

After examining Cochrane’s facts, the public would be better served by listing the real evidence and facts:

1. Bryant was driving home with his wife from an anniversary celebration, through an area under construction on Bloor Street. As he stopped at a red light Sheppard passed him and stopped his bicycle in front of Bryant’s car.

2. While stopped, angry words were exchanged with Sheppard. Video evidence shows that Bryant deliberately rammed his car into Sheppard knocking him to the ground.

3. It’s unknown if either Sheppard or Bryant were impaired. Police say Sheppard had been drinking that day but that he was not impaired. Bryant was celebrating his 12th wedding anniversary. We will find out if Sheppard was impaired as his body underwent toxicology tests. We will never know if Bryant was impaired as police never submitted him to a breathalyser test.

4. After getting slammed by Bryant’s car Sheppard hit Bryant’s car with his backpack.

5. After ramming into Sheppard Bryant reversed his car and tried to drive around Sheppard and flee the scene. Sheppard grabbed on to Bryant’s car in an attempt to prevent Bryant from leaving the scene of the accident.

6. According to eyewitnesses, Bryant then sped away at about 90 km/hr on the wrong side of the road. He mounted the curb and intentionally drove into obstacles to knock Sheppard off his car.

7. Bryant’s reckless driving caused Sheppard to smash into a mailbox, fire hydrant and other solid obstacles until he could no longer hold on and fell. Bryant ran over Sheppard with his rear wheels as Sheppard lay bleeding and battered on the ground. Bryant once again fled and Sheppard died.

What would a reasonable person in Bryant’s situation have done? Would a reasonable person deliberately ram their car into a vulnerable cyclist? Did Bryant have control of his car? Even if Sheppard somehow could control the steering of the car while hanging on for dear life, Bryant still controlled the car. Bryant controlled the acceleration and brake pedals. He controlled the car’s speed.

Based on the facts currently available, a reasonable person would come to the conclusion beyond any reasonable doubt that Michael Bryant is guilty.

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6 Responses to Beyond a reasonable doubt

  1. rationibus says:

    These biased lawyers and the spineless reporters who quote them always leave out the part where Bryant in his Saab pulls up as close as possible to Sheppard’s rear wheel and then runs him down.

  2. Mack says:

    I wonder how much Navigator may have paid for that piece of nonsense written by Michael Cochrane.

    I wish the blonde woman(mentioned in the first reports) who was out celebrating with Michael Bryant would step forward and give her version of events.
    But perhaps the wife has requested that she stay in the background.
    Wouldn`t you just love to be a fly on the wall in the Bryant household these days.

    Spin it Navigator,spin it.
    You`re easy to recognize even when you may have hired a Lawyer to spin it for you.

  3. rationibus says:

    The lawyers commenting on this case always try to portray themselves as objective and analytical, yet not one has dared to even mention what every honest observer knows, that the Saab hit the cyclist driving him into the ground.

    Rotenberg, a lawyer quoted in the Globe, goes beyond analysis and into mind-reading when he says, “There was nothing deliberate; no criminal intent.” But what does logic tell you about a driver who, from a dead stop, suddenly accelerates forward with a stationary bicycle inches in front of his bumper? It tells you that the act was deliberate. I have yet a to hear a reasonable counter explanation for these actions from any lawyer. They simply leave it out of the equation. Consequently to me they appear as hollow men.

  4. insidonna says:

    Wow enjoyed reading your post. I added your rss to my google reader.

  5. Feldwebel Wolfenstool says:

    Lawyers make me want to puke. Cops, too. All they do is protect crooked politicians and tapeworm civil servants from prosecution when they steal.

  6. Dave Theman says:

    Michael Bryant used his car as a lethal weapon – period! No matter what a cyclist DID to him – it did not justify any of his actions. A sane person would have pulled over to the side of the road and let the situation cool down, or call the police if it didn’t. I, and anybody with an ounce of normalcy would NOT have acted the way Michael Bryant did in this situation. His actions were purely criminal in intent – he intended to inflict bodily harm on the cyclist. It doesn’t matter if the cyclist was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or whatever – it doesn’t justify anybody deliberately inflicting bodily harm, or murder.

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