The Peck Brief – Advocate for the Defence Part 1


Mess Media, May 27, 2010

Darcy Allan Sheppard and Michael Bryant

On May 25, 2010, special prosecutor Richard Peck announced that all charges against former Attorney General Michael Bryant would be dropped ruling that “there is no reasonable prospect for conviction in relation to either of the charges before the Court.”

Bryant had been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death in relation to the death of cyclist Darcy Allan (AL) Sheppard after a traffic altercation on August 31, 2009.

Most cases end with the ruling of a judge or jury but this case ended with the ruling of a single criminal defence lawyer acting as an independent prosecutor.

Peck released an eleven page brief analyzing some of the evidence and justifying his decision to drop the charges without a preliminary hearing of the evidence. His brief answered few questions but also raised many more.

We have separated Peck’s brief into the two parts. Part one focuses on the initial incident where Bryant’s vehicle rammed into Sheppard. Part two will begin where Sheppard grabbed on to the vehicle.

Summary

An analysis of Richard Peck’s brief reveals that he relied heavily on the unchallenged statements of Michael Bryant to come his decision to drop the charges. Peck cherry picked evidence to support Bryant’s claims and either suppressed or ignored alternative evidence that challenged Bryant’s version of the events.

Before looking at Peck’s analysis we must first understand the special prosecutor, his style and his motivations.

Richard Peck was chosen as special prosecutor in the case of Michael Bryant because he is a highly respected lawyer from outside Ontario with a reputation for high ethical standards and professionalism. He also happened to be in the Toronto area on the night this tragedy took place.

Although Peck is from outside of the province he and Michael Bryant share a similar history. Both are British Columbia boys, born and bred. They both come from political families and both became famous Canadian big city lawyers. Bryant is a Liberal and Peck has donated money to Liberal candidates. No doubt their paths have crossed a few times over the years.

Peck is regarded as one of Canada’s best criminal defence attorneys yet he has lost many cases.  That is because he often takes on un-winnable cases with a dedication to the accused, even those with a mountain of credible evidence against them.

Peck is “considered a lawyer’s lawyer, the person to call when lawyers themselves get into trouble.” He is a defender and promoter of the legal profession. Peck believes you “do what you can to enhance its image and enhance its professionalism and assist those you work with.”

Although he is a very successful criminal defence attorney Peck does not seem to have a history of successful prosecutions often recommending that no charges should be laid or no further inquiry necessary.

Peck ‘s dedication to the belief in the innocence of his accused clients is an admirable quality for a criminal lawyer but does it also affect his perspective in his role as a special prosecutor?

Peck has a reputation as a precise user of language. “His language is thoughtful; he considers his words fully and truly in a way that only someone with the love for the English language can.”

In a cover story for Canadian Lawyer entitled Mr. Congeniality, his co-counsel in the Air India terrorist bombing case, Michael Code, described Peck’s use of language:

“He really cares about language,” Code says of Peck. “This makes him a really unusual lawyer, he loves the English language, and he thinks about the English language, he chooses his words incredibly carefully. So he is probably the best read lawyer of any lawyer I know, because he is just so thoughtful and careful about the way he uses language, real precision and care.”

Peck’s Analysis of the evidence

While reading Peck’s brief we should remember that it is written by a dedicated criminal defence attorney who chooses his words carefully and precisely. He is “considered a lawyer’s lawyer, the person to call when lawyers themselves get into trouble.”

The primary source for much of the evidence in the brief comes from interviews conducted by the Crown with Michael Bryant and his wife Susan Abramovitch who is also a lawyer. Neither Bryant nor his wife gave statements to police at the time of the events. Peck does not inform us of the date of the interview. We must assume that Bryant’s defence team allowed them to be interviewed much later, once other evidence was gathered and well after the video tapes surfaced. It is not unreasonable to assume the married couple discussed their testimony prior to the interview. There is also a risk that their testimony was crafted to fit with the investigation. The defence team also gave the Crown access to the defence materials from its private investigation.

The brief reads like a statement of defence. If we did not know it was written by the prosecutor we would have believed that it was written by Bryant’s legal dream team. The main source for the brief is Michael Bryant. His claims tell the story. Evidence that supports Bryant’s testimony is highlighted and emphasized and much of the evidence that doesn’t support the testimony is ignored.

The major thrust of the brief is also the main tenet of Bryant’s defence. Bryant‘s lawyers and Peck argue that Sheppard’s prior propensity for aggressiveness show that it’s likely he and not Bryant was the aggressor.

Peck states that Sheppard has at least six altercations with motorists prior to the event, in other words in his entire lifetime. Peck lists all six allegations, even though some lack credibility.

In a courtroom, even an average lawyer would have no trouble dismissing some of these allegations under cross examination. The timing of the allegation from a 76 year old woman cannot be determined. Peck cannot even narrow it down to a specific year.  Peck refers to the timing “as several years prior.” The woman’s recollection is suspect. She can’t remember when the altercation happened but we are to believe she remembered Sheppard’s face several years after an altercation that lasted a few seconds. Peck found it credible enough to include.

Peck includes an allegation from earlier on August 31, 2009 even though it’s from a woman who claims she was a witness to erratic behaviour by a cyclist. The woman could not be certain that the perpetrator was Sheppard and none of the actual victims ever came forward to finger Sheppard even though the alleged act occurred  just a few hours before Sheppard and Bryant met and his picture was splattered all over the media the next day.

Peck states that “this prior history supports the events as described by Bryant and his wife” but even if the allegations are true what the prior history shows is that Sheppard was likely to yell and scream and spit at someone AFTER a confrontation or a perceived confrontation. The prior history does not demonstrate a propensity for violence. None of these people allege that they were violently attacked. They were threatened, verbally accosted and spat upon.

Moving on to the initial incident with Bryant, peck makes an error. He notes that Bryant “came to a red light.” Peck carefully avoids the phrase “stopped at a red light” because it would diminish his accusation.

Peck then states:

“Mr. Sheppard cycled past Mr. Bryant’s vehicle along the driver’s side and cut in front of the vehicle, stopping his bike directly in front of the Saab and blocking its way.”

“Blocking his way?” Peck acknowledges the light was red.  Sheppard stopped for a red light. There is no evidence that suggests his intent was to block Bryant.

We do know that Bryant stopped at the red light because we can see it on the surveillance video.  Sheppard’s behaviour was not threatening it was efficient and normal for urban cyclists. If Peck consulted a cycling expert he would have discovered that cyclists in Toronto routinely pass cars stopped at red lights and move to the front of the line. It’s one of the primary advantages of cycling downtown. There was only one lane of traffic so Sheppard’s safest lane position of about one metre from the curb or edge of the lane would put him in a position in front of Bryant’s car.

The video shows Sheppard rode by Bryant without threatening him. It appears up until that point that Bryant and Sheppard were indifferent to each other.

Bryant claims that his Saab stalled. Peck states that the video shows changes in the luminosity of the headlights on a number of occasions.

Peck carefully states the following:

“The expert evidence confirms that one explanation for this is that the headlights dimmed as result of the vehicle stalling and then being restarted.”

“One explanation.”  Peck doesn’t say “the most likely” or “the most credible, he plainly and precisely says “one.” The independent prosecutor is supposed to be responsible for the prosecution and not the defence. The independent prosecutor is supposed to champion transparency. So why would he not give details of the other explanations? Could it be because they would only cast doubt on Bryant’s claims?

Peck, the prosecutor, lists six different questionable allegations against the victim yet he cannot list all the explanations suggested by the expert evidence for changes in luminosity of headlight on a video. Also Peck notes that there were many witnesses, yet he finds none, not one single witness that can support Bryant’s claim of a stalled vehicle.

Next Peck notes the many witnesses that police interviewed. He comments that there are consistencies and inconsistencies in their evidence.

He carefully and precisely states:

One of the largely consistent themes is that Sheppard loudly and aggressively confronted Mr. Bryant while he and his wife remained passive.”

The experienced defence lawyer acting as a prosecutor decides to keep the other themes from us. He omits evidence that doesn’t support Bryant’s well rehearsed claims.

Peck points to the vulnerability of Bryant in his convertible sports car with the top down yet Sheppard rides past the vulnerable Bryant making no threatening moves or comments. Earlier Peck claimed that Sheppard’s alleged prior behaviour was relevant to these events but Sheppard’s alleged prior behaviour contradicts Bryant’s claims. All of the previous allegations against Sheppard allege that he went after the motorist only after a confrontation or perceived confrontation. It was never alleged that he just snapped.

Bryant claims that all of sudden, Sheppard snapped and acted loudly and aggressively toward Bryant. In describing previous allegations against Sheppard, Peck was careful to explain Sheppard’s actions. He described Sheppard swearing and spitting at people but not this time. This is the most relevant and critical moment of the altercation yet Peck does not explain how Sheppard was acting loudly and aggressively. Peck doesn’t explain exactly what Sheppard did to panic Bryant.

In all of the other allegations against him, Sheppard told the other person what he perceived they did to him, but not with Bryant. In Michael Bryant’s version of the events he is perfect. Bryant doesn’t cut him off. He doesn’t honk his horn or tell him where to ride. He does nothing. Yet we are to believe that Sheppard acted out of character and went after him anyway for no reason.

Other evidence does not corroborate Bryant’s version of the events. On September 1, before the video was made public Christie Blatchford wrote a different version of the events based on eyewitness statements ignored by Peck.  Blatchford wrote:

“Earlier eyewitness accounts describe an angry clash between Mr. Bryant and Mr. Sheppard – a toot of the horn and a shout to get moving from Mr. Bryant; a refusal and perhaps an answering shout from Mr. Sheppard; Mr. Bryant edging his convertible closer, and by one account, actually hitting Mr. Sheppard’s bike”

Peck, the prosecutor/defence counsel left this evidence out of his analysis. We’re at the point where Peck’s omission of evidence is no longer surprising. He is simply transcribing Bryant’s claims.

The video, as alluded to by Christie Blatchford, shows Bryant push his car closer and closer to Sheppard in a threatening manner but Peck instead recounts Bryant’s statements as if they are unchallenged by evidence.  He purposely chooses to include Bryant’s claims instead of reported witness statements. Peck says Bryant claimed he was in a panic trying to start his car.

Peck states:

“When the vehicle restarted it accelerated into Mr. Sheppard causing him to land on the hood.”

The video shows Bryant’s car rammed into Sheppard but Peck is careful not to say that Bryant hit him knocking him down. Instead he says Sheppard simply landed on the hood and fell off.

Peck carefully relays Bryant’s vulnerability in a convertible and how Bryant claims he was panicked and terrified because Sheppard was loud and aggressive yet he makes no statement regarding Sheppard’s vulnerability on a bicycle or the fact that he was just rammed by a car. Instead Peck precisely states that Sheppard is clearly unhurt as if that makes the assault on Sheppard any less shocking.

Peck relays Bryant’s claims that the acceleration was unintentional and that Bryant was trying to start the engine. Curiously Bryant claims his car only stalled when it was convenient to his story. Bryant claims the car stalled because he slammed on his breaks (when he was stopped at a red light). After Bryant’s car crashed into Sheppard, he slammed on the brakes again but the car doesn’t stall. He just backed up and drove around him.

Peck states that the

“expert evidence demonstrates that approximately 2.5 seconds elapsed from the time the vehicle started its forward motion.” He also notes that the Bryant’s car reached a speed “somewhere between 9 kph and 13.4 kph and that the car travelled a distance of 30 feet.”

In all prior mentions of “expert evidence” Peck carefully points out that one explanation of the evidence may support Bryant’s claims. This time he does not because it is unbelievable that Bryant’s car could travel 30 feet in an accidental acceleration from a stopped position. Both the Crown and Bryant’s legal team conducted extensive tests on Bryant’s vehicle. If they had found a possible mechanical explanation for the sudden acceleration Peck would have emphasized it. Instead, acting like an experienced criminal lawyer defending his client, he makes no comment. Another independent prosecutor would likely have said something to the effect of “expert tests showed Bryant’s vehicle had no mechanical malfunction that would explain any accidental acceleration.”

Up to this point, the evidence clearly shows Michael Bryant as the aggressor. Sheppard passed him, acting indifferent.  He stopped in front of Bryant’s car at the red light. Because of construction there was no room for Bryant to pass Sheppard did not move when the light turned green. Witnesses state that Bryant honked and yelled to get moving. Sheppard may have yelled back which would explain other witness statements claiming he acted loudly. Prior allegations against Sheppard only allege that he confronted motorists after a confrontation or perceived slight.

Unhappy with Sheppard blocking his path, Bryant moved him out of the way by accelerating his car and ramming into Sheppard knocking him on the hood of the car for 30 feet before Sheppard fell to the ground. Bryant then backed up and drove around Sheppard. Sheppard stood up and grabbed on the vehicle as Bryant was driving away.

It is disturbing that a special prosecutor can dismiss charges so easily based upon the statements of the accused. The reason the special prosecutor is brought in is because of fears the accused will received special treatment by the justice system. Ontario needs justice reform. In cases where a special prosecutor is brought in, the justice system should require that a preliminary hearing by held in front of a jury so that all evidence is presented in open court.

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172 Responses to The Peck Brief – Advocate for the Defence Part 1

  1. heretothere says:

    Well done. The summary is filled with blindingly biased wording, blatant omissions and a number of questionably relevant inclusions.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am afraid that, whatever one says here or elsewhere, the employees from the “Navigator” will respond promptly with a counter-claim, because it is their job to do so, and do it well.
    Freedom of speech is precious, but venting out frustration and anger is futile.
    So, what is the next step than an ordinary citizen or a group of concerned citizens of Ontario can take?
    Ontario ombudsman maybe?
    A petition to the existing Ontario AG?
    Any other legal aid?

    • heretothere says:

      Anyone know how to get a hold of 911 phone call transcripts? Am I wrong in assuming a member of the public would be able to obtain copies?

      • Amy says:

        Yes please I want to know too! Where to go next, and is what are the ways of investigating things that the prosecution obviously should have investigated, but didn’t?
        Which restaurant did Bryant go to that night?
        Did he really have zero drinks?
        Which labs did the analysis of the car?
        Can anyone access the eyewitness accounts the police recorded?

      • Christine says:

        In response to Amy (there is no reply button under Amy’s comment)…

        This article describes what they supposedly did prior to the killing:

        http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/690321

        It’s not clear who supplied the information for the article.

        Someone from the first place they visited said he’s a regular but it doesn’t explicitly state that she remembers him from that particular night. It could be very misleading. Supposedly on their 12th anniversary they spent $15 on shawarmas and iced teas.

    • Alogon says:

      You can lay an information on Bryant –

      Information

      23. (1) Any person who, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that one or more persons have committed an offence, may lay an information in the prescribed form and under oath before a justice alleging the offence and the justice shall receive the information. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, s. 23 (1)

      For all the good it may do. I suspect that the whole lot up there in the courts are in cahoots.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just wrote the following letter to Eric Hoskins, MPP (St. Paul’s). I dare you to do the same; send the letter to your MPP and ask for follow-up.
      (Please forgive me for my mistakes, English is my 2nd language.)

      “Dear Mr. Hoskins,

      I am writing to express my disbelief and outrage regarding the withdrawal of all charges against Michael Bryant by a special prosecutor Richard Peck.

      The CCTV footage as well as witness’ statements support the necessity for this case to stand trial and for jury and judge to decide if Michel Bryant was guilty or not.
      (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFISP_PrhFo)

      Please note that I have nothing personally against Mr. Bryant and his wife, but, as a citizen of Ontario, want to see the due process followed and justice served.

      We live in a democratic society designed and improved over the centuries to insure that no parts of government can misuse its power. When, in a case like this, a prosecutor, acting as a part of the Judiciary, does not serve the People, other parts of government have to take a stand and ensure that there will be no special legal treatment based on religion, race social status or any other criteria.

      I am not a lawyer, and trust that the Attorney General has discretion to drop the charges when there is no reasonable evidence to support the prosecution. However, In this case, one does need a Law School degree to see that the AG has ignored the evidence, misused its power and put his own interests before the interest of the public.

      As a member of your constituency, I trust that you will rise this question and follow-up on what will be done to revisit the material evidence and bring the case back to the court, where it belongs.

      I look forward to talking with you about this issue.
      Please feel free to contact me or advise on your availability to arrange a meeting.

      Sincerely,”

      • Christne says:

        The response from my MPP (Vic Dhillon, Brampton West):

        “Thank you for your e-mail. As you are aware, Ontario brought in an independent prosecutor from BC. The decision to drop the charges against Michael Bryant was solely made by this prosecutor.

        This was a tragic incident that showed how dramatically lives can be changed in seconds. Our thoughts are with the deceased and his family.

        MPP Dhillon can not legally intervene in this matter.

        Sincerely…”

      • Anonymous says:

        Haven’t heard from my MPP yet… I hope to receive more than just a political mumbo-jumbo.
        Do we really live in a feudal society?

      • Zugzwang says:

        It looks like the Family Compact is back in business. It’s time for another Upper Canada rebellion!

  3. nobody says:

    I’m not surprised that Michael Bryant is posing for the press in a very aggressive way after the death of Darcy. Just goes to show how cocky he felt about getting away with murder.

  4. Richard Ball says:

    “it is unbelievable that Bryant’s car could travel 30 feet in an accidental acceleration from a stopped position.”

    Just such an event occurred the other day in our condo complex. Car was parking, suddenly accelerated at great speed and ran smack into a ground-floor condo. Smashed in the brickwork. We are all still shaking our heads.

    I think a fair characterization of the whole event would be rage-on-rage and the public would have been better served by having the case proceed to trial so that events could be aired.

    Still, your attempts to sanitize the behavior of Mr. Sheppard are pretty strained.

    • Gord Campbell says:

      The attempt to sanitize the behaviour of Mr. Sheppard would be a first from what I have read. One thing is for sure. No one before that judge ruling on the dismissal of charges, defended Sheppard whatsoever. This is in a clear violation of the spirit of the murder trial where it is the accused that is on trial. No one brought forward any witnesses on behalf of the deceased. We are dealing with liars. So much bad has been written about Darcy in order to clear Bryant that any defense no matter where, or how meagre seems like going over the top. The issue is what Bryant did wrong… not what Darcy did wrong for that would be another charge and trial.

      • Richard Ball says:

        “The issue is what Bryant did wrong… not what Darcy did wrong for that would be another charge and trial.”

        That’s like saying if a person was on trial for defending himself against an assault, the actions of the assaulter don’t matter.

        Of course the behavior of both belligerents matter.

    • Alogon says:

      Ok, so at your condo complex, who paid for the damages? The condo unit owner or the car driver? Did the condo owner say “Entirely my fault for having a building in your way”? Certainly the car driver will be held liable for the damages, no? So why in this case was the person in control of the car given a free pass for the “accidental” acceleration which hit Sheppard?
      Do you see what I am saying? In any other case the person in care and control of the car is responsible yet Bryant has no responsibility? It is just “Oopsie! Tough break, kid” and Bryant carries on with his life paying no penalty? Talk about something sounding “strained”.
      As to sanitizing Sheppard’s behaviour, who did that? His actions were clear from the tape. You are just one of the ones brainwashed by the negative press to infer from a now ingrained bias that Sheppard’s actions were somehow “dirty” and so viewed in any other light is “sanitizing” them. What did Sheppard do that was so wrong? He pulled in front of a car – whooooooo! Even if he was in the wrong by the HTA it isn’t so extreme. Then he reacted angrily to being draped across the hood of some jackass driver – again, whooooo! Not out of the ordinary or extreme. He grabbed onto the side mirror of a car that hit him and then tried to flee – call in the army, we have a serious offender here. C’mon, nothing he did was wrong in the Bryant situation and if we are to give Bryant all the benefit of doubt due to panic why not Sheppard? The man was run down and the driver attempted to flee. A certain amount of panic and adrenalin would be in play and cause him to react, in a panic, by grabbing onto the car – perhaps thinking the driver was a human being and therefore would stop instead of dragging another person across several lanes of traffic and bumping them off of hydrants and such.

    • Terry says:

      It was reported that Bryant didn’t give any statement to police on the night of the event.

      Now if your car accidentally accelerated and hit someone wouldn’t you tell the police that? Would you just say nothing?

      Honestly, after seeing the video, what other story could Bryant come up with? He spent months coming up that story. How many other times has his car accidentally accelerated?

  5. linguinee says:

    I suspect that anyone viewing the surveillance videos and accounts of eyewitnesses (construction/road) crews will have a hard time reconciling those with Richard Peck’s version of the night’s events.

    The process of administering justice cannot be opaque: it must be seen to be done in order for it to indeed be done. I believe a trial before a judge was a vital prerequisite to ensuring the integrity of the process.

    Sadly, I suspect we’ll never really know if justice was served. Too bad for Darcy. And bad for all of us.

  6. FS says:

    Well done indeed! A very detailed and perceptive analysis. I have to take issue though with the bit about Peck’s “real precision and care” in the way he uses language. If you look at page 3 of the brief, last line in the 3rd paragraph, it says, “The situation was diffused, probably due to the presence of others.” The word “diffuse” means to spread; to circulate; to send out, or extend, in all directions; to disseminate; to scatter; as to diffuse information, etc. Peck obviously meant “defuse”, which is exactly the opposite, meaning calm; settle; cool; contain; damp down; disarm; make safe, etc. If this man, with all the years of higher education and legal training that he has undoubtedly received, can say precisely the opposite of what he means – in a legal case – I certainly wouldn’t want him defending me!

  7. Richard Ball says:

    FS — maybe he just got cinffused!

  8. Alogon says:

    Well done! Excellent analysis. I came to the exact same conclusions that reading this almost made me cry because I thought I may be the last thinking person left in this province. After reading all the comments on other boards, I knew that the smear job on Sheppard was successful. He is called a “rage-a-holic”, a “trouble-maker”, a “no good malcontent”, a “drug abuser” and on and on.
    I have grown to mistrust the police after many negative experiences (and here is where the police apologists start with the “well, you must be doing something wrong to be dealing with the police so you deserved whatever you got” BS). After needing the police to perform their job and getting nothing, or after being threatened with jail because you asked the nice officer to do something about the man threatening to shoot you with a gun, one realizes that if you need help – don’t go to the police. But now, I have to ingest the fact that even the courts are corrupt and no solace for the average Joe looking for justice.
    Let none of us forget that, even in Canada, when it is politically expeditious, the powers that be can get away with murder. Or drunk-driving. Or drug use.

    Funny that it was Rahim Jaffer that helped craft legislation that was introduced to the House that demanded mandatory sentences for pot possession but he got off on cocaine possession. Bryant crafted legislation foisting onus reversal on certain dog owners regardless of situation as well as automatic penalties to which there is no defence. Seems to me these jackasses should demand to be held and tried to their own ideals, the ideals they want the rest of us to endure.

  9. Omid says:

    Is there any way for the public to get involved in reviving this case? What are the legal steps that an ordinary citizens like me can take to ask for an appeal?

    My biggest motivation is to be able hold my head up and say: when the system I believed in, seemed to be failing, I did my best to bring it inline with its basic morale values.

    Anyone from a non-PR firm can weigh in please?

    • Omid says:

      second line from the bottom should be:

      …moral values…

      • Anonymous says:

        I share your views, but I lack the knowledge of legal system in Ontario.
        Here is what confuses me: in order to prevent the misuse of power (often seen in so called “undemocratic” societies), there is a separation of power between 3 parts of the government, or at least the independent judiciary:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers
        Now, the question is: how to push the other (two) parts of Ontario government to check for balance of power?
        In this case, one part of the government (the judiciary) is basically misusing its power by ignoring a big chunk of the evidence and behaving like a juror and a jury, before the trial even began. To make things even worse, the special AG is not even from Ontario…

        Ombudsman?
        http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/en/what-we-do.aspx
        The Fifth Estate?
        http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/

  10. Vivek David says:

    Do you know where we can get a copy of that brief? Can you put up a copy of it.

  11. Christine says:

    Thank you so much to the person who is maintaining this website and offering this insightful commentary.

    I haven’t been able to (and don’t want to) put this case out of my mind. I too am wondering what the average person can do to seek justice. I have written to my local MP, the Minister of Justice (no reply from either yet) and the Prime Minister.

    The PMO wrote “You may be assured that careful consideration has been given to the situation you have described. However, as the matter you have raised is not within the jurisdiction of the federal government, this office is unable to be of assistance.” Funny the matter is outside the PMO’s jurisdiction and yet not outside their jurisdiction to assure me it was handled carefully.

    I like the idea of laying an information on Bryant. But I wonder if it too late at this point? Can you lay an information in regards to an incident that has already been ‘dealt with’?

    I think the Ombudsman sounds like a good approach too.

    • Alogon says:

      Disclaimer – Not a lawyer but have a huge interest in law.

      Your question re: being too late. There is a Statute of Limitations on laying certain charges – usually a couple of years from when the incident first became known.

      In regards to the matter being “dealt with” that’s the beauty – it wasn’t dealt with. Bryant was neither acquitted or convicted, they simply dropped the charges and, unless it was with prejudice, my understanding is that the matter may still be addressed by the court. Bryant could not plead autre fois acquit since no trial had occurred.

      Now, understand that you have to lay the information at a Justice of the Peace in the relevant jurisdiction (Old City Hall) and you are then given a preliminary date to present the evidence, witnesses, what-have-you to convince the court to proceed with the charges. It is not as easy as it may seem. You will need to know a few particulars about Bryant such as address and birth date. Of course, privacy laws will prevent you from getting some of the info.

      It is likely the court would reason (in the banal way they tend to sometimes) that a prosecutor had already determined the case was not worth proceeding unless you could somehow demonstrate some kind of cover-up or incompetence. The law is set to shut you out of the club, only lawyers and judges allowed so I wouldn’t be expecting much. They tend not to like us mortals playing in their sandbox (or beating them in it either, as I found out – heehee).

      On the other hand it is possible that a judge may think that the matter should truly proceed based on his/her views or the desire to maintain the perception of the administration of justice in the eyes of the public. Who knows?

      Either way it goes, it will be an uphill battle. I wonder if someone attempting this would end up a PR victim too? Enough skeletons in most people’s closets that the intimidation works. Look how the victim was maligned here, sure no choir boy, but since when did we spit on the victim? Bryant’s words after the charges were dropped were more denigration in my eyes, something that angered me even more.
      “This has turned out to be a tale about addiction, mental health, an independent justice system, a tragic death and a couple out on their wedding anniversary with the top down”

      See how he paints a drug-fueled madman, the of course independent system that exonerated him and the Norman Rockwell couple sharing a soda at the ‘ol Malt Shop? He is always a hyperbolic little weasel, tough enough to kill innocent dogs (of course he himself doesn’t inject the needle into a little puppies vein sending it to sleep for “looking” a certain way) but apparently a frightened little girl anywhere else.

      Makes me vomit.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks a lot for your reply. It seems there is a lot to think about here.

        I feel like something has to be done. I have basically no knowledge of how the law works so I would have a lot to learn in such a situation. And I wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, meaning Darcy’s family and friends.

        There is a Facebook page ‘In Memory of Darcy Allan Sheppard’ set up by them and I have been watching it for mention of any plans for recourse. So far I haven’t seen anything specific. The mother of two of his kids, Tracey Jones, is asking for advice on how to seek some justice on behalf of her children.

        Personally I’m not particularly worried about skeletons in my closet and I would be happy to do whatever I could to bring some sanity to this situation. But I wonder if someone else who is closer to the case or who has knowledge of the law could do a better job?

      • Christine says:

        His birth date (from his Facebook account):

        April 13, 1966

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is a great, well thought out article. It’s also nice to see a forum with some intelligent readers, unlike, say the star or sun.

    What I find concerning is how quickly the media did exactly what Bryant’s navigator firm would have wanted to do, and plaster that image of Darcy on the front pages of all the major dailies. On the other hand, I have yet to see the mainstream press analyze the youtube video that clearly shows Bryant ramming Darcy several feet. Talk about a bunch of trained seals.

    It’s interesting that the above video footage was originally aired by major new outlets like CityPulse, but rather than analyze it they quickly switch scenes and continue to smear Darcy. At the same time, anyone with access to the internet can do a quick search for “Michael Bryant” and see those videos right away. You can’t argue that those videos are false or doctored, because it was taken from a national broadcast. But I think even the average Joe who watches the youtube video and then watches the news can obviously see astonishingly unfair bias of the media, and how the facts have been twisted.

    I’m hoping that more attention is brought to this, and there’s got to be a lawyer somewhere who believes in justice (call me naive), who can add credibility to what you have written. It is troubling that not a single lawyer has said anything about this – or maybe they have, it just hasn’t been published anywhere.

    • Barry says:

      None of the past incidents of anger or violence that Darcy was alleged to have committed would have been accepted if this had gone to court. They would have been disallowed because they would not have relevance to the specific incident of that night. If they were allowed, a good prosecutor could have ripped those witnesses apart, especially if they didn’t file any complaint to the police. Also, those photos are hardly evidence, you can’t even see the person’s face. They could have been photos of Leonardo De Caprio for all we know.

      • Christine says:

        Here’s an article that briefly describes the precedent that allowed Peck to consider Darcy’s alleged past behaviour. I don’t know if the reasoning really applies in this case, but this article tells us when the precedent was set:

        http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/05/25/decades-old-ruling-influenced-decision-to-drop-charges-in-bryant-case/

      • Alogon says:

        Notice the wording of the precedent set in that 30 year old case.

        ‘But an exception can be made when the bad character evidence “reasonably assists” the jury in reaching a “just verdict,” such as when it is “so highly distinctive or unique as to carry a signature,” said the court.’

        Jury. There it is. Spelled out. Assist the jury. The Great Kreskin, I mean, Peck knew the minds of the jury so therefore they were unnecessary. He must have known that he could not argue against the perception of Sheppard because his whole song-and-dance routine is built on schmaltz. This prick successfully defended an accused Air India bomber and a man accused of child porn but he threw his arms up on this one, much too tough.

        C’mon, a bloody 1st year law student could have wrecked those alleged prior acts to shreds on cross. There was no evidence, police reports and shaky memories.

        Not only that, but in Scopelleti the trial judge noted “Obviously, evidence of previous acts of violence by the deceased,
        not known to the accused, is NOT relevant to show the reasonableness of the accused’s apprehension of an impending attack.” (emphasis mine) This seems to me to fly in the face of what Peck says. Scopelliti does not guarantee an acquital. Judges can choose not to allow this type of evidence. The court has said that a judge “In the exercise of a discretion open to him, consistent with Scopelliti, he was entitled to conclude that the proffered evidence was not admissible.” This is from an appeal based on R vs. Yaeck.

        In R. v. Yaeck, [1989] O.J. No. 5016 (S.C.J.), the judge found that the acts of the victim did not have probative value to show a disposition for violence on the part of the victim. He found the acts did not support the inference that the victim had a propensity (disposition) for violence of a kind likely to cause another person to feel that their life was threatened. And in this case these were the previous acts – 1) On July 26, 1984 the deceased (together with her boyfriend Vella) forced her way into the home of Myra Mullins, produced a buck knife and cut the telephone line when Ms. Mullins attempted to call the police, and cut Ms. Mullins about the hand and face with the knife. Ms. Mullins escaped but on her return the deceased stabbed her in the right side of the neck and then fled. The latter wound was 2 inches deep and 1 inch wide. The deceased was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment.

        (2) After the above charge was laid the deceased made threats over the telephone to Ms. Mullins. The deceased was convicted of obstructing justice and sentenced to three months concurrent.

        (3) On a prior occasion Ms. Mullins witnessed the deceased throwing a beer bottle at a patron in a tavern because “he was looking at me funny”.

        (4) On March 8, 1986, the police arrested the deceased for conveying a false telephone message. She became violent and abusive with the police and had to be handcuffed.

        Seems like a whole lot more damning than Sheppard’s previous alleged acts and the above was considered inadmissible for lacking sufficient probative value.

        I could write a book on this. There is a lot of case law that shows this case could have been won by the Crown.

      • Alogon says:

        From R. V. Boyce – “In R. v. Cameron 1995 CanLII 1283 (ON C.A.), (1995), 96 C.C.C. (3d) 346 (Ont. C.A.), Galligan, J.A., considered the evidence of various acts of the deceased tendered for the purpose of demonstrating his propensity for violence. In that case, the appellant alleged that the deceased was the instigator of and aggressor in the fatal altercation. Galligan, J.A. acknowledged that the appellant, according to the principles in Scopelliti, supra, was entitled to place before the jury evidence tending to show that the deceased was probably the aggressor. However, his Lordship noted at p. 357:

        The appellant was not entitled to blacken the character of Blackwood [the deceased] so that he, the appellant, would be seen in a more favourable light. It should also be remembered that, in this case, the appellant knew nothing about Blackwood’s character and knew nothing about the events which had occurred during the previous four years of his life. Furthermore, although the appellant had seen the injuries which Blackwood had suffered in late May, 1991, he knew nothing of their cause. Those prior incidents were not admissible, therefore, to support a reasonable apprehension of harm at Blackwood’s hands. Nor were they admissible to show reasonable grounds for the adoption by the appellant of extreme measures to protect himself. The evidence, in order to be admissible, would have had to support the probability that Blackwood was the aggressor; that is, that the appellant’s version of the events was the correct one.”

        Bryant did not know of Sheppard’s alleged past and cross-examination of the witnesses brought forward might have revealed THEY instigated any altercation they had with Sheppard or weren’t completely free from blame. Besides, nothing in the alleged events leads anyone to conclude Bryant had a good reason to fear for his life because no one was the victim of any physical violence from Sheppard as per their stories.

  13. rationibus says:

    I am hugely disappointed with Peck. To me his reputation is garbage after this display of bias and dereliction of duty. His renowned love of words and language seems only to have served to falsify and mislead the public. Shame on you Mr. Peck. And a heartfelt thanks to the thinker behind Bryant watch for taking a stand and for doing so with such thoughtful analysis.

    Along with others who have spoken above I would like to know if there is any legal recourse at this point. It’s appalling to think that this report so full of egregious almost pathetic holes could pretend to speak for the Crown which is after all us the people.

  14. colman says:

    Not a lawyer, just wondering how it is that someone can hit a cyclist with their car, drive away, and not be charged with leaving the scene of an accident (or an assault)? Isn’t that ‘hit and run’? I have been under the impression that that was an indictible offence. In fact, everyone implicitly seems to agree that Bryant did this twice. First at the red light after having knocked the cyclist onto his hood and then the ground; and the second time when the cyclist was knocked off of Bryant’s car and killed.

    • Barry says:

      The law says that if the driver is in immediate danger, they can move their vehicle to a safe area away from that danger. Of course, it doesn’t specify if the person suddenly in danger was the one who created the danger in the first place. Or what the definition of danger is. I think an example is a busy highway or burning debris as a result of the collision. Bryant would have known immediately that Darcy was no longer hanging onto the side of the car, so why didn’t just just stop at the other side of the road? He should have also lent assistance as soon as he saw the man was critically injured. Instead, as a person who was well versed in the law, he drove out of sight from the collision scenes so that witnesses could not see him letting off his passenger and perhaps even take away items that may have hurt his case.

      • Alogon says:

        Just some musings –

        Funny that we are told his passenger was his wife yet the first reports of the incident spoke of a blonde woman as his passenger. His wife has dark brown hair. We don’t see any photos of her at the scene as Bryant is arrested. You would think you would given that his Susan Abramovitch is somewhat well known and there are usually photos of the distraught wife in these stories, no?

        Funny that he gets months to make a statement. Don’t they want ot get statements right away so memories don’t fade and so there isn’t time to practice, to get the stories straight as it were. His wife doesn’t make her statement until much later either. Do they even wait to make their statements until after the P.I. does his dirt-digging?

        Funny how “witnesses” recollecting incidents from the past, sometimes years, are “credible in Peck’s eyes but not the witnesses who were at the scene and recorded statements right away.

        Funny how a man can admit to “accidentally” accelerating into a person on a bicycle and then admit to backing up to get away can receive no penalty for this action merely by claiming that the person on the bicycle, sitting in front of the man’s car in a very vulnerable position, was terrifying though he made no threatening motions.

        Funny how “unfortunately” being knocked off the hood of someone’s car, deemed to be “not seriously hurt” by some dipshit special prosecutor who has probably never been hit with a car (I have, got hit while walking on the sidewalk, it sucks ass ) doesn’t automatically excuse your “rage” the way “fear” excuses killing someone in this case. Oh, you know what they gloss over? They say Bryant’s car “lurched” forward 30 feet in 2.5 seconds which means his average acceleration was 1.46304 m^2. A 1995 Saab 900 convertible has a curb weight of 3130 lbs. Force is mass times acceleration so Bryant hit Sheppard, while Sheppard was perched on a bicycle, with 467 pounds of force. I had my shoulder dislocated and left biceps tendon torn being hit by someone in a car doing around 8 kph. But this event is played off as though Sheppard merely fell from his bike on his own.

        Funny how pictures which show no identifying features, not even a tattoo, can be conclusively stated to be someone. Or that the photos suggest something bad is going on since, if you look at the one where the guy is hanging of the car, the security guard on the corner is doing nothing. That seems odd. Maybe he figures not his problem, but still seems weird he would just stand there. Also, the man in the car doesn’t call police nor drag Sheppard down the street banging him off hydrants out of terror.

        Funny how Bryant was so terrified of the crazed lunatic Sheppard was made out to be yet Bryant did not have a scratch, bump or bruise on him; not his face nor his arms since we don’t hear of these or see any defensive wounds and surely they would tell us of these wounds to further drive the point home. What scared Bryant so if the Sheppard wasn’t trying to hit him?

        Funny that a guy whose reputation is one of being “pugnacious” and mouthy being so meek and terrified for his life. That someone who trained as a boxer and still trains would claim he felt so helpless to defend himself and his wife. Most people don’t know how to fight and would be easy pickings for someone with fighting experience, we don’t know of Sheppard having any real fight experience. There is talk that he had 2 assault convictions but you can get one of those for spitting on someone, which he is alleged to have done to drivers who he had near misses with (the defence’s witnesses). No details other than the ominous words “assault convictions”.

        So many funny things. I will say they played this the only way they could have. If they had gone through the motions only to acquit Bryant (following the plan all along, no doubt) it would have been a precedent and would have opened the gates to people killing each other in the street and then trying to apply this case law. The “Michael Bryant Defence”, it was all out of sheer terror; a totally unquantifiable emotion that can’t be proved or disproved. Now because of this fiasco we know we don’t have to give the cops a statement until we are damn good and ready. The law and order types probably already hate that that one got out.

      • Barry says:

        No doubt, this shaping of Bryant’s image in the media is not just his own doing. He’s probably forked over a lot of money to Navigator, probably more money than he paid to his defense attorney.
        The only place that will probably hire him, if they don’t want an alleged murderer (he was never found guilty, but he wasn’t found innocent either) in their midst, would be Navigator. He would make the perfect addition. Either that or a collection agent.
        He’s done everything wrong by the book, and since he and his wife are lawyers, it makes it even more disturbing that people aren’t questioning his actions. If it was an average person, then it would be understandable if they didn’t know they shouldn’t leave the scene of a collision, or that any one of the passengers should have left. I mean, for all we know, it was the passenger in Bryant’s car who instigated the events. We may never know now.
        I think the best witnesses were the ones that CTV recorded right after the accident. The two construction workers that were there pretty much saw the incident from beginning to end. Why weren’t their statements considered good enough to proceed to trial? Because the prosecution was so hell bent on demonstrating that Bryant acting out in self-defense against a person who may have committed violent acts in the past, but not at this instance?

  15. jane crawford says:

    I agree – there is really something wrong. Basically, it was Sheppard who was being prosecuted, not really Bryant.

  16. Barry says:

    Bryant’s actions during and after the confrontation point to guilt. If it was all just an accident, then why did he let his passenger run off after parking the car out of sight from the fatal collision? If he was so innocent, why did he not take a breathalyzer or make a statement to the police? And then he hires a PR team whose main job is to change the public image of their client. All of these things point to a guilty conscience trying to cover up a crime.
    Mr Bryant did everything wrong by the book. And for a lawyer and a former AG, he should have been held up to higher standards. Letting his passenger leave before the police arrive was a criminal act in itself, and he would be very aware of this.
    I agree that the video evidence shows that Darcy Sheppard passed by the car, and just moved into a position in front of Bryant’s car about 2 or 3 feet ahead. Interestingly, that light is a pedestrian crossing, so if Sheppard was really an out of control, aggressive cyclist, why didn’t he just go through the red light? It almost looks like Bryant started intimidating him by moving his car up to the rear tire of Sheppard’s bike, and when Darcy didn’t move fast enough, he pushed him with his car. Why Bryant was not charged with assault for that action is beyond reasonable understanding.
    The whole case has been a total farce. Heck, Bryant didn’t even spend 12 hours behind bars, he got special treatment throughout the whole process, even getting to live his life on the outside without a bail hearing.
    I’d be curious to find out if he even gets any demerits out of this on his license.

  17. Barry says:

    The Crown should be ashamed this guy wrote this report in this manner. It sounds like he just copied off of the defense team. Was he really looking for evidence to go after Bryant, or spending his days watching DVDs? I think one problem with having a lawyer coming in from so far out of province is that he cannot make money working other cases. If he has to be the Crown prosecutor for a case in Ontario, he has to spend more time in Ontario. Can he take up other cases in Ontario while working on this one? You have to wonder if Richard Peck got homesick and just wanted this case to go away.

  18. Greg says:

    Without commenting on the rest of the story, I think it is invalid to hold the fact that Bryant did not make an statement to the police against him. He called the police immediately after the accident, and it would have been their decision, not his, whether to take a statement immediately, or wait until later. And to complain that the AG is not from Ontario is ridiculous…the whole point is that none of Bryant’s former colleagues could take the case due to conflict of interest. So it had to be someone from outside the province.

    • Alogon says:

      Not true that it was the police’s decision to take the statement later. They always try to get it from you right away, partly so they don’t have to go anywhere else to get it (who wants to do extra work?) and partly so that they get the story fresh not after the mind has reprocessed and started to change things. Also they don’t want the person altering their story to their advantage based on information that becomes available later or calling someone to set up alibis and such. That’s the intent. Bryant was exercising his right to remain silent. But doesn’t the law always try to tell you that remaining silent insinuates that you are guilty – that you have something to hide?

      • Barry says:

        And they didn’t find it odd that Bryant’s passenger left the scene before the police arrived. They could have been taking off with evidence, they could have been someone else completely. The day after the incident occurred and for the next day or so, the eyewitness reports indicated that a blonde person was the passenger in the car. This was odd for some observers in the media because his wife is a brunette. And a dark haired brunette, not something that you can confuse with a blonde. The passenger gets away, then later on the wife, a lawyer herself, comes forward and claims she was in the car. The investigators never questioned this behaviour once, even defending Bryant’s actions by saying that the person did come forward later. But who’s to say that’s the same person who was actually in the car?

      • Christine says:

        This article describes the restaurants that Bryant and whoever he was with supposedly visited prior to the killing:

        http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/690321

        I wonder if the servers would remember what the woman looked like?

      • Barry says:

        The article never mentions the description of the person with Bryant. Nor do we hear about what he did before that dinner.
        I believe there were security cameras around the Hyatt hotel where he eventually stopped after the collision. But nothing has ever been mentioned of it, nor does the media ever address the issue of the passenger/witness to the accident running off before the police arrive.

      • Vincent Clement says:

        The police do not always try to get statements right away.

        A few years back, my wife was turning right at signalized intersection. While she was turning, a cyclist ran into the back of my wife’s van. My wife stopped and asked the cyclist if she need assistance. She then called the police.

        At the scene, a ‘witness’ was unable to give a statement because she was going to be late for work. The police officer got her statement hours later at their place of work.

        Despite a language barrier with the cyclist, despite not getting a statement from the witness, despite the evidence that the bike smashed into my wife’s van and despite the fact that in my city it is against the law to ride a bike with wheels with a 24 inch diameter on the sidewalk, the police officer charged my wife with an unsafe turn.

        In the police report, the police officer notes that the charge was laid AFTER she got the statement from the witness. Um, no. That is when we decided to challenge the charge. We did our research.

        At court, the crown attorney looked over the case and called the cyclist and the police officer over. Then the tongue-lashing began. He made sure to raise his voice and told the police officer that you cannot ride a bicycle with 24″ wheels on the sidewalk. Anyone in the courtroom heard what he had to say.

        When the judge returned, the Crown Attorney withdrew the charge.

      • Christine says:

        But when someone dies you would expect the situation to be different. I’m pretty sure if I kill someone tomorrow they’ll want me to talk right away.

      • Barry says:

        I agree. It sounded like everyone in this case with your wife was okay. But in the case of a fatality, I think they would have to be on top of it right away. And they had Michael Bryant in custody, so there was no reason not to take a statement at that time.
        His silence, and the fact that he didn’t take a breathalyzer or blood test to see if he was impaired or taking medication (perhaps anti-depressants?) seem to indicate strongly that he was treated differently than a regular citizen in the same situation.
        Even the fact he was able to get a suit and tie and shave before leaving the jail was considered special treatment. I think some officer at the place he was being held was quoted in the media around that time as saying that others would not have received the treatment he was getting.

  19. Ben says:

    I don’t know if you’ve already heard this podcast about the Bryant case. A couple quotes from your earlier posts included:

    [audio src="http://www.parkdalerevolutionaryorchestra.com/watt/watt028.mp3" /]

  20. Antony says:

    Good summary of the points of concern in this case. I just dropped in to provide some ‘fair and balanced’ character assassination on Bryant’s side.

    http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=7&bpn=779520&ts=2009-05-26%2020:00:35.0

    Which recreational substance might produce the same symptoms as Bryant exhibits in this interview?

  21. Observer Status says:

    This discussion is based only on Peck’s “Executive Summary” The entire brief and supporting material for his 11 page summary probably includes some answers to many of the doubts that you have raised. The brief would also make reference to evidence, transcripts of interviews, forensic reports etc.. So, just because you don’t see something addressed in the 11 page summary does not mean that the issue wasn’t considered. The next step would be to get a hold of the entire brief.

    • Barry says:

      I would definitely like to see the details of this report. Especially how they arrived at their conclusion of the way the car was traveling in Darcy Sheppard’s final moments. The eyewitnesses who were interviewed on camera that night (I’m referring to the construction workers that are on youtube) indicated that the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed, not the below speed limit the summary indicated. I think construction workers would know the difference between 34km/h and 60 plus.
      And there was just too much character assassination against the victim that makes me suspicious of the motivation of the prosecution.

      • Vincent Clement says:

        Most people have no idea how fast a vehicle is travelling. When asked, people tend to overstate the speed a vehicle is travelling.

      • Barry says:

        I would expect construction workers to be a bit more sensitive to the speed of the cars traveling past them. Not everyone can guess accurately how fast someone is going, but you can tell if someone is going 20 km/h faster than what traffic is normally going.

    • Christine says:

      This link may show the way to getting the entire brief….. I am going to try to call the city clerk’s office tomorrow.

      http://www.toronto.ca/cap/form_foi.htm

      • Alogon says:

        Christine, you are definitely doing some researching. A lot of people say something upsets them and do nothing so I commend you on putting the work in.

        I could be wrong but I don’t think the link you posted is the right source though. I believe you would have to go to a Provincial source since they are the ones who hired Peck and the ones in charge of administering the Provincial Courts.

        Either way, I look forward to any results you can obtain.

      • Alogon says:

        I think the IPC is the correct source to apply to – http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Access-to-Information/Accessing-Public-Information/

        Maybe you can get a copy of Peck’s contract too. Apparently it would contain details about the scope of his powers while under retainer. As Barry so correctly pointed out in another comment, now that the charges are withdrawn there should be no further claim by the province for the need to safeguard the details to prevent harming the case.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks for the link Alogon. I think that there are various routes to obtaining the information, including both of our links. There is a directory on the City of Toronto website which shows that they also have access to provincial court documents.

        Today I visited Toronto city hall where there is an area for submitting Freedom of Information requests. They basically read over the request and take the $5 initial fee, then pass the request on to the appropriate division.

        A very nice lady ended up assisting me. She said she thought the request was clear enough. I asked for all records pertaining to the traffic accident that led to the death of Darcy, for which Bryant was charged, and also for Peck’s contract.

        The city is supposed to respond within 30 days (but sometimes they request an extension). The process is described here, including possible reasons for exemptions from access:

        http://www.toronto.ca/cap/submit.htm

        The next step will be a letter describing what information I can have and an estimate of the fee.

        Police records must be requested directly from Toronto Police services and the death certificate (would that be useful?) would have to be requested from Service Ontario.

        I will keep you all posted.

      • Christine says:

        I was wrong – someone called from the city today and told me to request the information directly from the Attorney General’s office so I am going to prepare the request tomorrow. Also, the Police Services request.

  22. Terry says:

    The difference is Peck only stated the AVERAGE spped. Since Bryant started out at zero and ended at zero the MAXIMUM speed is probably somewhere in the 60kph range.

    Yet another example of Mr. Peck’s methods.

    • Barry says:

      Oh my god, you are correct. AVERAGE speed, does not equal MAXIMUM speed. This guy was not working for the prosecution, he was working for the defense. Shameful. He must be enjoying himself back home in Vancouver, for a job NOT done.

  23. Anon says:

    I am curious if his estate has considered a lawsuit for wrongful death.

    • Alogon says:

      That’s thew beauty of our system – unless you have money, good luck suing anyone. If you could get a lawyer on contingency fee basis it would require a case that had some chances of success. Here nothing has seen a courtroom but the fact that the Crown dropped the charges would weigh heavily against getting any recompense. Also, the way it has been worded to paint an innocent angel and his darling wife out for few alcohol-free kicks in his old jalopy like a freaking Archie comic and the car-latching, driver-hating, hell-spawn with drug and alcohol abuse problems. One commenter on a blog left a message yesterday musing Sheppard was “probably coked-up”. See how ridiculous it has gotten? Now Sheppard is a coke-head? People will twist this guy into a nothing that they can spit on. The same commenter even said “Sheppard got what he deserved”. Don’t worry, I let him know which type of human waste he had for brains.

      Sheppard may have been less-than-perfect but I am still pretty sure you can’t be executed for the types of things they claim he did in his life. Shit, in this country, you can’t even be sent to jail for killing someone as long as you got a good story, lawyer and PR firm.

      • Barry says:

        If Sheppard was such a menace to society, why did they only cite his forged checks from many years earlier as his most anti-social quality? This was before the Peck summary was released where suddenly a whole host of witnesses came forward when they miraculously remembered they were accosted by Sheppard. But the media machine is interesting. I believe people are just paid to repeat what comes off the wires, but maybe put their own little spin. They aren’t paid to be advocates or journalists. There were a few nice stories months after the incident where some journalists did go after Bryant and his hiring of Navigator, but those same people seemed strangely silent after this outcome.
        Regardless of how Sheppard was days or minutes before the confrontation, you don’t receive the death penalty just because you happened to bud in line.

      • Barry says:

        And all those people who jump all over the ‘facts’ about Sheppard’s blood alcohol level never stop to question why Bryant was never tested.

  24. […] The Peck Brief – Advocate for the Defense Pt 1:    A critical review of the Executive Summary above from the author of Bryant Watch […]

  25. Anon says:

    Alogon I am a lawyer and you don’t know what you’re talking about. In a worst case scenario even if everything else you said were right (which you are not).

    Then his estate and his family (for loss of companionship and pain and suffering) would still have the option of taking him to small claims and suing for 25k.

    • h. says:

      If you were a lawyer, you’d be able to write (at least a little bit of) english without mistakes. What you write doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t have any proof of what you state. I call it BS

      • Alogon says:

        You beat me to it. I highly doubt this joker is a lawyer and besides even if he were it doesn’t guarantee he knows what he is talking about. I have met plenty of stupid lawyers.

        Sure, they could still take him to small claims for loss of companionship (and funeral expenses, loss of guidance and care for his kids and travel allowances that may be necessary – missed those, huh?) but not for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is not a recoverable damage under the Family Law Act, which is the only Act Sheppard’s dependents can avail themselves of to sue in tort. Not only that, but since the “official” word is that Sheppard was the “aggressor” then this little gem in the FLA takes effect also – (3) In an action under subsection (1), the right to damages is subject to any apportionment of damages due to contributory fault or neglect of the person who was injured or killed. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 61 (3).
        And this would reduce any amount recovered in the piddly $25,000 limit to Small Claims.

        Hey, guess what you call a guy who graduated with a “C” in law school – a “lawyer”.

        Hit me back when you are done articling or if you have something to back up your accusations of my error.

      • Alogon says:

        Well, to be clearer. The FLA does allow pain and suffering claims but those cases usually follow a criminal conviction for the physical assaults alleged, and always involve a finding by the trier of fact that the assault actually occurred and only on the person who was assaulted, not their family.

        I also forgot to mention that this would likely also be subject to the Insurance Act since it involves a vehicle and therefore is subject to deductibles – $15,000 deductible that applies to awards for loss of guidance, care and companionship provided the value of the award is less than $50,000. Which is even more of a reason why the anonymous lawyer’s suggestion of Small Claims is stupid. Wonder why the “lawyer” didn’t mention that.

    • Barry says:

      You’re right, they could sue. But from the sound bytes from that press conference after the withdrawal of the charges, the family wasn’t interested in doing anything further. I couldn’t tell if they were also brainwashed by the media onslaught of Darcy’s past alleged behavior, or if they just couldn’t afford it all the way from out West.

  26. John Gilbert says:

    I remember reading a copy of Peck’s brief online earlier, but it has now been removed and is hard to find. The Toronto Star page with it as a .pdf document appears not to work anymore. Is it being censored?

  27. nobody says:

    Where is the Hyatt Hotel’s surveillance video of that night?- Why did Bryant park himself right at the door step of the hotel? Can the the public see the Hyatt’s guest book for that night too?
    Darcy’s character assassination by Bryants team was successful the few people I talk to about this case have no idea there is a surveillance video showing the initial confrontaion where Bryant hits Darcy to the ground then backs up and leaves. Why did Bryant leave a man bleed to death…was there any 911 phones calls made by Bryant or the passenger who was first discribed as a blonde woman.

    • Barry says:

      Bryant’s car was parked right on the doorstep. This isn’t some fleabag motel either, so they would have cameras inside and out. I think there’s at least one at the doorway. But the police never refer to this aspect of the incident. They had no problem with a participant in a death running off, and perhaps someone else subbing in for them. His wife was never formally identified on any of the footage, we just are taking the prosecution and defense’s word that she was in the car.
      It could have been a blonde woman. It could have been a blonde tranny. We’ll never know. I’ve wondered if the reason why Bryant didn’t want to stick around for that first collision at the light was because he was afraid that the police would need to question him and his passenger. Why else would he try to get out of sight and let the passenger run off. He never wanted to be caught with them. Maybe they even ran off with some not-so-legal stuff inside the car. We’ll never know.

      • nobody says:

        I agree!! PLUS its been reported that Brayant took his “wife” to the cheapest restaurant that served food with plastic cutlery for their 12th aniversary celebration. That is so wrong! no way in hell would any woman allow her husband to take her out to such a place to celebrate a 12 year anivesary….well maybe a wife of a pan handler.

      • Barry says:

        I think it’s a fabrication, just to make Bryant seem like a regular guy.

        I tried looking around the internet for information on whether it really was their wedding anniversary, but I’ll just take the media’s word that it was around the time of their anniversary. It’s not 100% clear if they were together in the car during the altercation.

    • Zugzwang says:

      To quote I.F. Stone, it is helpful to seek the “significant trifle”, the overlooked fact or buried observation.

      From Page 6 of Richard Peck’s brief:

      “Mr. Bryant stated that he wanted to get away. He attempted to get his car started and it stalled again, causing it to lurch forward. Mr. Bryant’s vehicle came close to or in contact with the rear wheel of Mr. Sheppard’s bike….The bicycle has been examined by the police and the Crown, and there does not appear to have been any damage to the rear wheel rim of the bicycle.”

      (1) If the examination by the police and the Crown HAD found damage to the rear wheel rim of Mr. Sheppard’s bicycle, how would they have known whether the damage was caused by the fatal incident with Mr. Bryant or by a prior incident? Well, the easiest solution would have been to ask the bicycle owner…well, on second thought, perhaps not. Oh well, maybe they could have used a ouija board or the urim and thummin.

      (2) Regardless of whether or not Mr. Sheppard’s bicycle was actually contacted by Mr. Bryant’s car at this particular time, we can clearly see from the video that the bicycle was forcefully hit by Mr. Bryant’s car a few seconds later.

      (Mr. Peck describes this portion of the incident in the summary as follows: “When the vehicle re-started it accelerated into Mr. Sheppard causing him to land on the hood.” This seems to imply that Mr. Sheppard had dismounted from his bicycle before the collision and that Mr. Bryant’s car hit the cyclist directly rather than the bicycle. The video does not appear to support this interpretation.)

      If the second collision didn’t damage the rear rim of Mr. Sheppard’s bicycle, why would the absence of damage be considered evidence that there was no contact with Mr. Bryant’s vehicle at the earlier time? The logical conclusion is that the absence of damage is in itself inconclusive as to whether or not Mr. Bryant’s car collided with Mr. Sheppard’s bicycle.

      From Page 8 of Mr. Peck’s executive summary:

      “Although certain eyewitnesses described [Mr. Bryant’s] vehicle as swerving and driving onto the sidewalk in an attempt to dislodge Mr. Sheppard, forensic examination has demonstrated that the Saab [i.e. Mr. Bryant’s vehicle] did not rub against the curb or mount the curb at any time.”

      The video footage of Mr. Bryant’s Saab parked at the Hotel Hyatt immediately after the incident clearly shows a sizable dent in the body panel behind the driver’s door. If the Saab didn’t rub against or mount the curb at any time, then what caused it? A traffic cone? Or did it result from a prior incident before Mr. Bryant’s tragic encounter with Mr. Sheppard? Did the police or the Crown ask the car owner for an explanation (in this case no ouija board required)?

      It looks like Barry might be on to something about a high school student writing the executive brief from the defense’s notes. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy work Mr. Peck.

      • Barry says:

        The bicycle would not have damaged if Bryant just touched that back tire. That doesn’t mean he didn’t make contact. If that was the case, then Darcy was probably thinking ‘wtf?’ within seconds, Bryant was shoving his bike to the ground with the car. That second action definitely damaged the bike. There were pictures of it in the media, it was definitely damaged by the big push.
        They claim that in spite of the eyewitness accounts, Bryant couldn’t have mounted the curb.
        What really is interesting is they say Darcy hit a fire hydrant. There isn’t one.

      • Barry says:

        Scratch that last line. There is a fire hydrant. He did end up near or around the mailbox, because that’s where the construction workers said they saw him bounce around. The fire hydrant and mailbox are not adjacent to each other, they are maybe 4 meters apart looking at the street view in Google. That means Sheppard was being hurled at incredible speeds to be thrown that far.

  28. Christine says:

    Does anyone know for sure the correct spelling of Darcy’s middle name? Most of the time I see it spelled Allan but in the executive summary it is spelled Allen.

    Could Peck have actually spelled it wrong?

    • Barry says:

      For all we know, Peck hired a high school student to look through the defense’s notes and write the report. It wouldn’t surprise me if he misspelled the victim’s name.

  29. Christine says:

    The construction workers who witnessed to final collision say Sheppard was knocked off the car by the mailbox, but in the brief it says it was a fire hydrant. Any thoughts or insights?

    I’m wondering if the fire hydrant is closer to the curb and that’s why Bryant claims it was the hydrant – so that he won’t appear to have gone up the curb.

    • Alogon says:

      Christine, I think you nailed it. Looking on Google street view you can see that the hydrant is closer to the street than the mailboxes. Not by much but it would make a difference in the perception of Bryant’s driving. The other thing I notice is that the mailboxes tend to be against trees or metal supports for signs. This would lead to an even more brutal scenario if we imagine Sheppard hitting multiple objects. It does make one wonder.

      I wonder if striking a hydrant in the manner Sheppard would have had to hit it would kill someone. If Sheppard is 6’1″ and he is claimed to be pretty much inside the cockpit of the car then I would imagine only his legs would have hit the hydrant. Sure he would have ended up with pretty badly damaged legs but end up bleeding from his head as the witnesses said.

      Ok, given that all kinds of unforeseen things can happen in a collision I will muse one possible scenario is that he hit his legs and the impact knocked him head over heels due to the car’s momentum and striking his head on the pavement but i don’t see this. If he was holding on to the steering wheel or anywhere on the car “for dear life” as one witness said it is hard to imagine him being thrown off from a hydrant hit. Wiped off, maybe but then I still don’t see how he hits his head fatally unless it snaps back and hits the pavement as he falls. I tend to think a guy who lived on his bike has some pretty good balance and experience with knowing how to fall.

      Anything can happen but it doesn’t sit with me. The mailboxes are taller, more likely to hit his face, head or break his neck and cause the fatality.

      Also, what was with that dent in Bryant’s car? Was that from Sheppard bouncing off objects and the car as the car went over the curb? No mention about that from Peck.

      And how does forensic evidence show that a car didn’t mount the curb? How do you test for that? Do they say, “well, there are no tire tracks so couldn’t have gone here”? There were no other cars and no glass distribution nor any bodywork pieces showing a dispersal pattern. There was no fuel leak. Doubtful there were any skid marks. Nothing but Sheppard’s blood at the site of his death. So how do they know what the car did?

    • Barry says:

      I’ve looked at the street view too. I think I can side with the defense that Bryant wouldn’t have had to mount the curb for the final action of hitting the hydrant to take place. What is interesting is that witnesses said that he was also hitting trees and other objects, and those are slightly more inset onto the sidewalk.
      I remember there was a photo of the area where he landed, and there was a pool of blood. And it was near the mailbox, if I’m not mistaken. The force it took to throw him off the car at the hydrant and toss him at the mailbox must have been tremendous. And in that case, Bryant should have stopped as soon as he crossed from the oncoming traffic lane to his proper lane. But he didn’t, he just kept on going…

      • Christine says:

        I’ve also heard some reports that Bryant drove over Darcy after the collision with the hyrant/mailbox but that’s not mentioned in the brief.

    • Christine says:

      Bits and pieces from various articles:

      ‘In one published report, a witness recalled seeing sparks flying from Sheppard’s cycling shoes as he skidded on the road alongside the car.’

      ‘Many couldn’t see Sheppard clinging to the vehicle. All of them said they could hear Bryant screaming. “The car was riding right up against the sidewalk where there were trees and posts and newspaper boxes. The tires were screeching,” said witness Josh Harlan.’

      ‘The first thing Sheppard struck was a small tree. Then he slammed into a grey mail collection box. Sheppard fell from the car. During the collision, he was thrown under the Saab’s rear wheels.’

      (If many witnesses couldn’t see him, this makes me think they were on the opposite side of the car and that Darcy was clinging quite low on the driver’s side. That would be consistent with the sparks as well. The dents could have occurred from the first collision with the tree with Darcy still hanging on. Of course he could have been higher up at first, then slid or was pushed lower. It would be so great to know exactly what witnesses said.)

  30. nobody says:

    I see conflict of interest all over Pecks decision . Peck was obviously the wrong person for the case. Both Peck and Bryant are from Victoria BC, both went to the same university. Some will agrue Peck and Bryant don’t know each other and went to school at different years attempting to convince others that Peck’s diccision was unbiased. When you have a tight circle of friends with conections who’s to say Peck isn’t best friends with a mutual friend of Bryants? I grew up in Toronto and after 25 years I realized in many levels it was a small town and Victoria BC IS a small town. Someone from Montreal would of been a better bet.

    • Terry says:

      Here’s another interesting coincidence. We know Bryant has been a boxer since he was bout 10 years old. Well it turns out Richard Peck was also a boxer. He was Vancouver Silver Gloves Boxing Champion in 1971.

      So we have 2 famous boxing lawyers from British Columbia, that went to the same University and both of their fathers were politicians.

      • Christine says:

        And (I don’t know how meaningful this is) they were both listed under ‘COUNCIL, ADVISORY BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ for The Association of Corporate Treasurers as recently as 2004/5.

      • Christine says:

        Sorry about the above post, I don’t think it’s them.

      • nobody says:

        I’m not surprised one bit- Thanks Terry good to know.

  31. Haow says:

    My questions is.

    Is it not common for police to take a breathalyzer after a motor vehicle kills someone?

    I get one driving on the road at certain times of the day and I don’t drink at ride programs.

    I also don’t get. How do you claim the stall and jerk of the car and within seconds your car is in reverse and you are trying to drive off? Surely one would think the driver was trying to get away. He was trying to pass around Mr. Allan before he even grabbed onto the car.

  32. Haow says:

    Sorry, I mean

    I get one driving on the road at certain times of the day at ride programs and I don’t drink.

    • Barry says:

      http://www.duiattorneysontario.com/

      That website indicates that you can refuse the breathalyzer and chemical test until you speak to an attorney. But once arrested, you have to.
      My understanding, however, is that the police never gave him one. I can’t remember where I read it, someone could verify it, but it was just on his word that he hadn’t been drinking. In other words, all he had to do was to say he hadn’t taken in any substances that could impair him, and the police took his word.
      If that is the case, then they gave him special treatment.

      • Haow says:

        Thanks Barry.

        That is why I ask. I remember reading the same thing and it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

        Police – Have you been drinking tonight?
        Bryant – No
        Police – What were you doing this evening?
        Bryant – Celebrating my anniversary.
        Police – Ok. I believe yeah…

        It just doesn’t make any sense. If I’m a cop and someone dies because of an automobile being involved and the driver was out celebrating an anniversary. I’m pretty sure a major % of the time, drinking was involved. There should have been a test done.

      • Barry says:

        Not just alcohol, there could have been other substances that Bryant could have been taking that altered his mood on that night. It wouldn’t excuse his actions, but it would have given us more of an understanding why he had such a low threshold for tolerance.

      • Christine says:

        I was talking to a Peel police officer last night and asked him if it is standard practice to give a breathalyzer after such a serious accident. He surprised me by saying that no, it isn’t. He said they have to have reason to suspect someone has been drinking (i.e. smell it on someone’s breath).

        No, Bryant didn’t have one. Sgt. Tim Burrows was quoted as saying that there was no reason to ask Bryant for a
        breathalyzer.

  33. Barry says:

    Now that the trial will not happen, will the video footage of the entire incident be released? The youtube clips are only edited portions and are images shot from cameras video taping a security tape playback. If the footage was seen in it’s original form, then we could see for ourselves who was in the car with Bryant, and the behavior of the driver and cyclist at the light.

    • Christine says:

      I doubt it will be volunteered, but we might be able to request it.

      Apparently, according to one report, there were ‘dozens of witnesses and a score of surveillance cameras that recorded the incident’ and ‘camera footage from stores along the retail strip.’

      • Barry says:

        They’ve alleged that Sheppard was acting irrationally earlier in the evening at the Bloor and Yonge intersection. Since there’s a bank on the corner with a camera, I’d hope there was also footage there of showing Sheppard and or Bryant there too. I mean, Bryant allegedly saw Sheppard earlier at that intersection, causing him to be apprehensive at the place where he eventually rammed Sheppard’s bike.

  34. Barry says:

    If you look at the video in the link below, you will see a pool of blood west of the mailbox. The fire hydrant would have been a few meters east. That’s quite a distance for a body to travel after being knocked off.

    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/MSNHome/20090901/fatal_collision_090901/?s_name=&no_ads=

  35. Fred says:

    This story is now gone and buried as deep as the young man that was accidentally killed. Just a thoughtful thought of what if. What if Mr. Bryant had hit something that actually flung the man attaching himself to his car clear of the vehcile causing some scrapes and bruises and a couple of broken bones but the young man lived. And what if that impact of the convertale car hitting whatever object or wall or something actually caused Mr. Bryant or his wife’s accicental death. What would the charges have been and to whom? Just a thoughtful thought and a permanent sign off from a thoughtful group of caregivers.. Thank you everyone. It has been disturbing to say the least.

    • nobody says:

      Good point and well said but there is more than what ifs there is a lot of whys. Yes a lot of unanswered questions.

    • Barry says:

      If Sheppard had lived, he would be the one spending time behind bars. That’s pretty clear by the way it’s gone. Bryant would have been played up as the poor victim, and the prosecution would have been coming down hard on Sheppard.
      Because Darcy died, it changed the situation, and so Bryant had to go on the offensive and paint Sheppard as some ticking time bomb waiting to go off. Ironically, there hasn’t been much in the media painting Bryant in a positive light, nor has there been statements by influential people coming to Bryant’s defense saying that he’s ‘such a nice guy’ etc… I don’t know if that’s because Navigator thought it would be easier just to destroy the victim’s name rather than try to play up Bryant’s reputation.

  36. Christine says:

    For the FOI request to the Attorney General, any thoughts on exactly what I should ask for? I want Peck’s full brief and his contract, but anything else? I don’t want to miss anything important but also don’t want to get more than I can handle, plus there is a charge.

    • rationibus says:

      @Christine

      I am willing to help with costs if they are reasonable. If the price is too high maybe a few of us could pool some money. This would make up a good dossier:

      1. The full brief,
      2. all eye-witness transcripts including those of Bryant and his wife,
      3. all video footage of the event,
      4. and the full forensic report including those of accident reconstruction experts.

      I’m not sure what Peck’s contract would tell us other than that he got paid a lot. I guess it can’t hurt but according to the quote posted by zugzwang the Attorney General, through his agents the Crown Attorneys, has a duty not only to the victim and public but also the accused so it’s hard to prove bias:

      “An important part of the Crown’s – and thus the Attorney General’s – responsibility in conducting criminal prosecutions is associated with the responsibility to represent the public interest – which includes not only the community as a whole and the victim, but also the accused. The Crown has a distinct responsibility to the court to present all the credible evidence available.
      The responsibility is to present the case fairly – not necessarily to convict. This is a fundamental precept of criminal law, even if it is not a particularly well-understood concept among the general public.”
      So by law, Peck had every right to exonerate Bryant if he thought it was a fair result based on the evidence.
      Only the hard evidence can reveal whether Peck’s decision was in fact “fair.” Maybe Ed Sapiano would provide some advice.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks rationibus. I really have no idea what to expect, hopefully the cost won’t be very high.

        I couldn’t make it there today but will mail the requests over the weekend.

    • Angela says:

      I cannot think of anything else, but I am interested in hearing about what you find and willing to donate to the costs.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks a lot Angela.

        I put the FOI requests to Toronto Police Services and the Attorney General in the mail over the weekend. I will let you all know when I hear anything.

      • Christine says:

        I received a letter from the Ministry of the Attorney General today. It says that they received my FOI request on Friday the 11th (I mailed it from Brampton on Sunday the 6th).

        They gave me a reference number, a phone number for a contact person and said “We will advise you when a decision has been made on your request for access to information.”

        I haven’t heard from Toronto Police Services yet but they cashed my cheque for the $5 application fee on the 11th.

  37. Barry says:

    What about Darcy Sheppard’s autopsy, Christine? And are you able to get access to the full video footage that was acquired for the investigation?

  38. Christine says:

    Ok, thanks Barry. I’ve never done this before and I don’t know what information would come from the Attorney General and what would come from police services. I will go in person to both places if possible (I work close by).

  39. Barry says:

    I wrote this question in the ‘This Is Justice’ article comments, but I’ll also ask it here. When a Prosecutor makes a decision such as this, to withdraw charges in the manner that Peck did, is there some overseeing body or person who will review whether the Crown attorney pursued the case in a competent manner? If he was supposed to be going after Bryant, why was he spending so much energy defending him? And while I can understand a lawyer would like to win a case, was he really in the position to say there was no prospect for any kind of conviction?

    • Zugzwang says:

      Check out this excerpt from the website of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

      http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/ag/agrole.asp

      “However any decisions relating to the conduct of individual prosecutions must be the Attorney General’s alone and independent of the traditional Cabinet decision making process. In practice, in the vast majority of cases, these decisions are made by the Attorney General’s agents, the Crown Attorneys.
      An important part of the Crown’s – and thus the Attorney General’s – responsibility in conducting criminal prosecutions is associated with the responsibility to represent the public interest – which includes not only the community as a whole and the victim, but also the accused. The Crown has a distinct responsibility to the court to present all the credible evidence available.
      The responsibility is to present the case fairly – not necessarily to convict. This is a fundamental precept of criminal law, even if it is not a particularly well-understood concept among the general public. One of the Attorney General’s responsibilities in fostering public respect for the rule of law, is to assist the public in understanding the nature and limits of the prosecutorial function.
      Ultimately the Attorney General is accountable to the people of the province, through the Legislature, for decisions relating to criminal prosecutions. Such accountability can only occur, of course, once the prosecution is completed or when a final decision has been made not to prosecute. The sub judicae rule bars any comment on a matter before the courts that is likely to influence the matter. The sub judicae rule strictly prohibits the Attorney General from commenting on prosecutions that are before the courts. Given the stature of the Attorney General’s position, any public comment coming from the office would be seen as an attempt to influence the case.
      Although the Attorney general can become involved in decision-making in relation to individual criminal cases, such a practice would leave the Minister vulnerable to accusations of political interference. Accordingly, it is traditional to leave the day-to-day decision-making in the hands of the Attorney General’s agents, the Crown Attorneys, except in cases of exceptional importance where the public would expect the Attorney General to be briefed.”

    • Christine says:

      I am wondering that too Barry… there must be something. The Ombudsman has been suggested…

      I just wrote to Dalton McGuinty, kind of begging for this sort of information. Maybe it was a waste of time, but he doesn’t seem to be a fan of Bryant’s so who knows?

      I was thinking, there have been some lawyers that made negative comments in the media about this case. Maybe we could get some free advice from them?

      “Anyone else would have been taken to bail court and forced to stand in the box, unshaven and dishevelled,” said veteran defence lawyer Edward Sapiano.

      And Bob Mionske, who wrote the ‘This is Justice?’ article. I’m sure there are others.

      • Angela says:

        Bob Mionske is from the US, great article, and I asked as well what Joe Public can do about this. I would venture a guess that it will be different in the States than here.

      • Christine says:

        I think Sapiano is our man:

        Headline: ‘Tireless advocate for the underdog, (Toronto) defence lawyer Edward Sapiano insists on doing ‘the right thing,’ despite the enemies he’s gained’

        http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/558523

      • Christine says:

        I have composed a letter to Sapiano and will likely send it tomorrow. Will let you know if he responds.

  40. Barry says:

    There’s one thing that isn’t clear from any of this: Why was Bryant driving so close to the curb? As far as I can tell, he did NOT knock down any traffic cones that were on the right passenger side of his car. His car had a full lane to drive in, and yet he chose to drive close enough to the curb to knock Darcy Sheppard off against a stationary object.
    What was the rationale for Bryant driving so close to the curb, at least according to his defense?

    • nobody says:

      It was speculated Darcy had his hand on the steering wheel but common sense tells us if that was the case Darcy’s body weight would of turned the car right into the sidwalk and possibly into a store front. All that and not even a fishtail occured? – its obvious Bryant had control over the car…..no finger prints on the steering wheel either.

      • Barry says:

        There’s no way Bryant would have been able to control the car if Darcy’s full weight was on the steering wheel. I agree, it would have veered into a storefront, but then again, Bryant did have control of the gas and brakes, so he would have hit the brakes if he didn’t feel he could control the vehicle.
        I doubt the defense team could come up with a good reason why Bryant was driving so close to the curb if he was so interested in the well-being of the dragged person.

      • Christine says:

        Detective Const. Lester Lalla stated: “We have witnesses saying we have a male attached to a door. And we have a vehicle with a male hanging on to the driver’s side… Eyewitnesses report he was driving along the curb. The car doesn’t appear to be out of control.”

  41. Christine says:

    Someone from the ‘Justice for Darcy Sheppard’ Facebook group will be collecting signatures for a petition today:

    Saturday, June 5, 2010 4:00pm – 5:30pm
    Meet at Bloor-Young station, just outside the main entrance – (the entrance leading to the Hudson Bay center).

    Link to info: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117043131671433#!/event.php?eid=132629780084051&ref=mf

  42. Christine says:

    The Justice for Darcy Sheppard Facebook group has links to a petition (it must be printed out, not sure where to mail it, I will ask).

    at http://justicefordarcy.wordpress.com/ and

    http://docs.google.comDoc?docid=0AWrofttKDtVjZGd6d2R4OWhfMWM1bm41YmZt&hl=en

    They also have posters in the photos section that can be printed out. I plan to post some in downtown Brampton. I also used one for my FB profile pic.

    • Christine says:

      Viv David (Justice for Darcy Sheppard on FB) is suggesting that petitions be mailed to him at the address below so that he can take them all together to Parliament. Just a suggestion…

      117 Thornbeck Drive
      Scarborough, Ontario
      M1G 2K4

  43. Barry says:

    I noticed in the news that the father of that missing girl from Toronto had to go back to jail because his sureties withdrew their bail support. The guy did not take another person’s life, and yet he has to spend time behind bars until his trial.

    Now compare that to Michael Bryant’s situation. He was released almost immediately and they made excuses about not having a bail judge handy. I don’t recall if they ever gave him bail. And the whole time, as far as I know, he never made a statement nor did he take a breathalyzer or submit a blood test while under arrest. It’s not like he refused, instead it was the police who gave him the special treatment. Isn’t that wonderful?

    • rationibus says:

      Thanks for that. I hope they get a lot more names.

    • Omid says:

      Thanks for doing this, I ‘ll forward the link to as many friends as I can. Is there anything else regrading this matter that you need help with?

      • Christine says:

        Thanks Omid. I think that the petitions, especially the one that has to be printed out, are important to focus on. Apparently it would be best for them to be delivered all together so eventually arrangements could be made to collect them.

        This weekend there will be a People’s Summit at Ryerson and U of T and Justice for Darcy (Facebook group) will have a table encouraging people to sign the petition, so it would be great to spread the word about that. I will pass on more specific details when I get them. I believe the table will be at Ryerson. Here is a link to the summit’s website:

        http://peoplessummit2010.ca/section/2

        And on Facebook, in the Justice for Darcy Sheppard group’s photos, there are posters that can be printed out and posted. I put up a few along University Ave. and outside Bryant’s office building yesterday 🙂

        I feel that if we keep plugging away eventually we will make some sort of progress. Changing public opinion seems crucial.

      • Omid says:

        Christine,
        This in reply to your comment below. I have contacted viv via email ( I am not on facebook, so I can’t join his group). I am going to be at the people’s summit on Sat. (not sure if I can stay for the whole day though)
        Regarding the petition, I have already asked this question from viv: How do we consolidate the signatures with those received online? I have sent the online petition to all people I knew they might care, and have asked them to do the same. Shouldn’t we focus on one petition? if yes, which one is more effective in your mind?

        thx
        Omid

      • Christine says:

        Omid, I agree it is probably best to focus on just one petition. The online one is easiest to implement but Viv has said that the gov’t won’t recognize an online petition. I’m just repeating what he said – I don’t know if it is true.

        I’m not aware of any way to consolidate them – I don’t think it’s possible because they seem to have been set up by 2 different people and the wording is very different so technically they are separate petitions.

        I plan to help out at the summit on Saturday morning so hopefully we can meet and discuss these things in person.

  44. Christine says:

    Justice For Darcy Sheppard (on Facebook) has posted:

    “Justice For Darcy Sheppard will receive a table at the 2010 people’s summit in order to spread the word, collect petitions and network with other groups. It would be a good networking opportunity for anyone interested in social advocacy to man a table. It’s on June 19th and June 20th 9-5.”

    • Christine says:

      Sorry for being so late with this. The Justice For Darcy Sheppard table at the People’s Summit will be located at:

      350 Victoria street (the Hub Cafeteria).

      Spread the word!

  45. Christine says:

    Please tell me if I’m being paranoid! I live in what I consider to be a nice neighbourhood. My son is 15 and just now he was walking from his dad’s to my place. A police officer stopped my son and questioned him about his name, birth date, school, grade, where he lives, where he was going, where he was coming from and whether he had anything ‘bad’ in his backpack and if he could prove his identity. He made my son wait while he ran his name.

    This sort of thing has never happened before. My son was not doing anything at all unusual, he was just walking along the street.

    I’m not the most street-wise person. Am I nuts for being scared that the reason my son was stopped has something to do with my FOI requests?

    • Zugzwang says:

      I don’t know what kind of ID a police officer would expect a 15 year old to be carrying while walking down the street. He’s too young to have a driver’s license or a credit card.

      And why would the officer would ask for your son’s birth date – did the officer suspect he was trying to enter an LCBO? And why ask for his school and grade – did the officer suspect your son was a truant?

      I’m not an expert on the law, but this situation appears to fall under Sections 9 and 10 of the Charter of Rights. Did the police officer inform your son of the reason why he was being detained? Did he search your son’s backpack (with or without his permission?) Did he provide his/her name and badge number?

      Hopefully this was nothing more than just an awful coincidence and had nothing to do with your FOI requests.

      • rationibus says:

        Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but if I were Christine, I’d start documenting everything. Dates, times, what was said etc. Could be useful information some day.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks Zugwang and Rationibus. My son’s dad and I went to the police station and had a long talk with someone about what happened and I do feel better now. But I did make notes!

    • Barry says:

      Unfortunately there are police officers who profile. If you dress a certain way, they think you’re a thug or a potential thief, so they harass you. It’s happened to many people, not just your son. It’s annoying, and unfortunately it builds distrust in the police force in the community. It’s no wonder that crimes in certain low income areas go unsolved because the people don’t trust the cops as much as they don’t trust the criminals.

      • Christine says:

        Yeah, the officer admitted that they are trained to profile! And my son is just an average looking teenager except with pretty long hair.

        I felt that my son was harassed because he felt he had to cooperate but now we know that unless he is put under arrest he doesn’t have to say one word or stick around if he doesn’t want to.

      • Barry says:

        I agree you don’t have to co-operate, but then the cops can probably find ways of making things difficult for you, especially the ones who are power tripping. It happens, they tend to harass younger folks. When he gets older, they won’t bother him, but he will distrust them for the rest of his life (unless he becomes one).

  46. Zugzwang says:

    On a related note the CBC reports that on Thursday June 17th the final report on the inquiry into the Air India bombing in 1985 will be released by retired Supreme Court justice John C. Major:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/06/14/f-air-india.html

    One of the key figures in the 25 year saga following that horrible tragedy which claimed the lives of 331 innocent people was none other than Mr. Richard C.C. Peck, who was the lead counsel in the Vancouver trial of one of the accused Air India bombers, Ajaib Singh Bagri.

    On March 15, 2005, Mr. Bagri, along with his co-accused, Ripudaman Singh Malik, were acquitted by British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Ian Bruce Josephson

    http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/Mr.-Congeniality.html

  47. Zugzwang says:

    Well that didn’t take long.

    Mr. Richard Peck is back in the news, this time in connection with the Braidwood Inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski during a confrontation with four RCMP officers at Vancouver Airport in 2007:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/rcmp-offer-unconditional-apology-over-forces-role-in-death-of-robert-dziekanski/article1608582/

    “Richard Peck, the lawyer retained as special prosecutor in the case against former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant, has been named special prosecutor to take a new look at whether charges should be laid against the four Mounties involved in a fatal 2007 confrontation with Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

    “Mr. Peck is to determine whether it is appropriate to reassess the decision not to lay charges against the officers in light of evidence heard at the Braidwood inquiry and the findings of commissioner Thomas Braidwood, said a statement Friday from the criminal justice branch.

    “The prominent Vancouver lawyer will also review the conduct of the officers in the incident.

    “If Mr. Peck deems charges are warranted, he will take conduct of the prosecution and any subsequent appeal.

    “Mr. Bryant was accused of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in a 2009 incident with a cyclist. Mr. Peck withdrew the charges because he concluded there was no chance of conviction.”

  48. Kris Langille says:

    Sheppard was an individual with FASD, meaning he was not equipped to deal with any situation where cause and effect was concerned . Individuals with FASD have trouble as children, in school and in life because of this inability to link the two and to learn from the fall-out that occurs. Run-ins with the law are standard for people living with FASD, although they would do better if they were in the mental health system instead of the justice system. Nobody seems to have taken this into consideration.

    AND Bryant was out celebrating his anniversary. Do you think he may have consumed some alcohol? Do ya’ think. Did ANYBODY think?! And Bryant is not the calmest of individuals either.

    The way this case was handled is so frustrating and disappointing. Another instance of ‘who you know and who you are’.

  49. Fred Lee says:

    Michael Bryant will get his someday. The police officer who shot Dudley George, anyone remember what happened to him…didn’t live very long did he? God will punish Bryant or the public will if ever he runs for public office again. He knows he got away with murder just like OJ Simpson knew. So Peck recommended those Mounties be charged for the Taser incident resulting in the death of that poor man. I’m sure Peck will flip flop his decision making the rest of his working life to justify his Bryant decision.

  50. Christine says:

    Over 250 signatures have been collected on the (hard copy) petition to have a new prosecutor review special prosecutor Richard Peck’s handling of Michael Bryant’s case!

  51. The info is greatly aprreciated. It is sometimes hard to keep track with all the recalls out there. Your site is another good source that I will include and check from now on for updates. Keep up the good work.

  52. Christne says:

    Just got word from the AG’s office that they need some extra time with the FOI request because there are a lot of documents involved, but they are working on it!

    Regarding Peck’s contract, they have to ask for his permission, so we might not get that, but it sounds like the rest of the requested information is forthcoming.

  53. Christine says:

    Just heard from Toronto Police Services. Basically, they cannot release any information because they are constrained by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Apparently even Darcy’s family members could only get very limited information and obtaining witness statements would require the authorization of the witnesses.

  54. Christine says:

    I don’t know if all of you who are following this are also in the Justice for Darcy Sheppard Facebook group, so I will mention this as well:

    There are plans to hold a candlelight vigil on or around Aug. 31, the one year anniversary of Darcy’s untimely death. The details are not firmed up yet but I will update you here when they are. I am hoping we do it on the 31st and that we will visit the area of Bloor St. where the ‘accident’ happened and then proceed to the Attorney General’s office. But that is just a suggestion, I’m not sure exactly how this will work.

    Also, Viv David (who started the FB group) is hoping to present the Bryant issue before the parliamentary house committee on justice issues so that we may be able to get our agenda (of having a new prosecutor review the case) passed without involving all of parliament.

    If you haven’t yet signed the petition please do so! You can find it on the FB group’s page or email me at cmssyc@gmail.com. Then please contact Viv or myself so that we can gather them all together to present to the committee.

  55. Christine says:

    Today I received a letter from the Attorney General’s office, stating that they need until Oct. 8 to respond to my request! “…the request is for a large number of records and meeting the time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the institution.”

    I find it hard to understand how it could take so long, but I’ve been expecting something like this to happen. Maybe Peck needs time to write up an actual full brief!

  56. Christine says:

    Try not to vomit when you see the latest edition of Toronto Life.

  57. Christine says:

    ‘Darcy Allan Sheppard Anniversary Memorial Ride Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 1:00pm Bloor and Avenue – Plus New Ghost BIke installation.’ (from Martin Reis, BikeLaneDiary, on Twitter).

  58. Christine says:

    There will be a candlelight vigil for Darcy Sheppard on Sunday August 29th at 7:30 pm. The vigil will be at the corner of Bay and Bloor. Bring your own candles if you can, otherwise candles will be provided.

  59. Christine says:

    Someone from the Facebook group is writing a press release for the vigil. If you can think of any organizations that would be appropriate to send it to, your ideas would be much appreciated.

  60. Christine says:

    Bryant is hosting a fundraiser for George Smitherman on Sept. 20 at the National Club. $350 a ticket. Apparently a small group is planning to be there, to protest against Bryant (I learned this from the ‘In memory of Darcy Allan Sheppard’ group.

    Link to Toronto Star story:

    http://thestar.blogs.com/thegoods/2010/09/michael-bryant-hosting-350-per-plate-fundraiser-for-smitherman.html

  61. Christine says:

    Surprise, surprise. The Attorney General’s office has denied my Freedom of Information request for Peck’s full brief in which he explains his reasons for dropping the charges. Not one page, not one paragraph, nothing.

    • rationibus says:

      Guess his reasons couldn’t stand up to scrutiny. No, no real surprise. There was never any attempt to prosecute Bryant. They just went through the motions. I hope they are all pleased with themselves. I don’t think I ever want to hear the word justice again.

  62. Steven D. Briggs says:

    To find out about Richard Peck and how goverments use him to drop charges and pay him very well to do so look up
    Vivelecanada.ca “The Special Prosecutor Process in B.C. a Criminal Conspiracy.” see what special prosecutors really do, you will never get one.

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