Friday, August 31 will be the 9th anniversary of the night Michael Bryant attacked and killed Darcy Allan Sheppard. “Eyewitnesses to a killing” is another excerpt from Jennifer Wells’ e-book, “Lost Boy: The Death of Darcy Allan Sheppard”
Let’s start with the criminal defence attorney turned “special prosecutor” who made the case in court to withdraw charges against his fellow attorney, former Attorney General of Ontario and current executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Michael Bryant.
As Richard Peck said in his address to the court, “Eyewitnesses see different things.” In a telephone interview in mid-August, Peck, a B.C. criminal lawyer appointed as special prosecutor by the Attorney General of Ontario, discussed the reliability of the witness accounts in this case. “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.” No one witness, he pointed out in his address to the court, appeared to observe the events from start to finish. Mark Sandler, a Toronto lawyer appointed counsel for the Crown in this case, was also present on the call. “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. “One has to look at more objective evidence in determining precisely what happened.”
What Peck doesn’t tell you is that the following two eyewitnesses gave consistent reports that match the surveillance videos and forensic evidence. Victoria Switzman is so close to Bryant’s car she can be seen on the surveillance video waving her arms as she screamed at Bryant to stop his attack. No other witnesses dispute the Switzmans’ account. Peck and Sandler did not interview the Switzmans’. They did not present any of the Switzmans’ eyewitness accounts in court. Instead, they paraphrased statements from witnesses who did not see anything until they HEARD Michael Bryant ram his car into Darcy Allan Sheppard, knock him on the hood of his car and scraped Sheppard’s bike at least 22 feet along the road. Sheppard was bleeding. Mark Sandler dismissed this as “moderately slight contact.” For most witnesses, the first thing they saw was Sheppard getting up off the road after Bryant attacked him with his car. Richard Peck also chose not to show the surveillance videos that captured most of Bryant’s attack on Sheppard.
Watch the surveillance video, hear the 911 calls of the eyewitnesses, and watch part of the eyewitness statements. (One day soon these unedited videos will be released in their entirety accompanied by transcripts.)
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