In the court transcripts of the case against Michael Bryant, special prosecutor Richard Peck made some comments as to the credibility and the nature of witness statements.
In this case eyewitnesses are people who were either in cars or on the street, in some cases within a few feet of the altercations. Some of them called 911 and sat with police for video interviews. Some of them spoke to the media, and related what they saw. Their witness testimonies were in some cases recorded mere minutes after the events while things were fresh in their minds. Because Bryant fled the scene of the initial accident, dragging Sheppard along the road, it was very difficult for any one witness to see the entire events that night. However it does not diminish the credibility of their description of the events they saw in person.
In the court transcripts Peck basically retold Bryant’s version of the events without challenging them and attempted to use Bryant’s words to supersede the testimony of independent eyewitnesses. Peck cherry picked parts of the witness’s statement that could be manipulated to support Bryant and ignored explicit statements from the very same witnesses that showed Bryant to be the aggressor intending to cause harm to Sheppard.
“The police took statements from numerous eyewitnesses in the area. The witnesses described seeing and hearing aspects of what occurred. No single witness appears to have observed the events from start to finish. There are both consistencies and inconsistencies in their evidence.”
In a telephone call for Jennifer Well’s Toronto Star report on the case (Lost Boy: The death of Darcy Allan Sheppard) Richard Peck continued to claim inconsistencies among the witnesses.
“There were quite disparate accounts of what happened from eyewitnesses or alleged eyewitnesses,” he says. “There were at least a dozen and they were quite disparate in terms of what they saw, or purported to see, the speeds, the interactions, all those types of things.”
Toronto lawyer Mark Sandler, who has many connections to Michael Bryant and who managed the case for Peck chimed in, “as is often the case when you’ve got a reconstruction of a traffic-related matter, the eyewitness accounts are wildly at variance with each other,” Sandler says.
So let’s look at the witness statements and compare them to each other and Bryant’s self-serving version of the events that he came up with immediately after receiving full disclosure of the Crown’s case.
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