WHY DID MICHAEL BRYANT WAIT THREE MINUTES TO CALL 911?

October 22, 2015

On August 31, 2009, former Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant was involved in a road rage attack that killed cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard. Bryant was arrested that evening but he did not make a statement to police. He would not make a statement until almost eight months later when he and his lawyers received complete and full disclosure of the Crown’s case. Bryant did however make a 911 call to police. After he successfully knocked Darcy Allan Sheppard off his car with a fire hydrant, Bryant fled to the Hyatt Hotel on Avenue Road just north of Bloor. It became the staging area for his defence.

BryantSaabHyatt

Bryant described his actions in his book, “28 Seconds”

“So I turned right on Avenue Road and drove into the hotel’s circular driveway and found, I thought, sanctuary. I stopped the car and pulled up the emergency brake-for what would be the final time. I couldn’t find my cell phone. Susan offered hers.”

In a video interview with the Toronto Star, he said: “And so I pulled over and called 911. It was… police need to come and protect us.”

In his CBC interview with Amanda Lang he said: “So I drove in and called 911 and ah said, help, bring police..”

His lawyer, Marie Henein wrote in her article, “Split Seconds Matter,” “He drove to safety just around the corner to a hotel and called 911.”

What’s missing from all of these descriptions is that when Michael Bryant drove to the Hyatt Hotel, in what he described as a state of fear, he did not call 911 right away. He waited three minutes!

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MICHAEL BRYANT PROSECUTORS RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FROM DEFENCE ATTORNEYS

October 17, 2015

Mark Sandler will be this year’s recipient of the G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Medal for outstanding contributions to criminal justice. Richard Peck was last year’s recipient. The Award will be presented to Sandler at the Ontario Criminal Lawyers’ Association Convention on Halloween, October 31, 2015 between 1pm-3pm at the Toronto Marriot Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. Sandler and Peck are most famous as the defence attorneys chosen to act as prosecutors in the Michael Bryant road rage case that involved his killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard.

The Ontario Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA) presents the G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Medal annually. Past recipients include famed defence attorneys such as John Robinette, Eddie Greenspan (Marie Henein’s mentor) and James Lockyer who founded the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.

In his book “28 Seconds”, Michael Bryant wrote about the closeness of the Toronto criminal defence bar. He said:

“But I learned something about the criminal defence bar in Toronto. They stick together and work together to help each other, even if they’re not retained on the case. This doesn’t apply to every lawyer, but amongst those who reciprocate, there is a small group of colleagues who advance the interests of the accused, at large.”

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“Michael Bryant Killed my Son”

April 23, 2015

Allan Sheppard appeared on Jesse Brown’s CANADALAND to talk about newly revealed evidence to the public in the case against Michael Bryant.

Listen to the podcast on CANADALAND and read the transcript of the new audio

“CANADALAND has obtained two eyewitness accounts of the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard. Neither has been publicly released before.  They tell a very different tale of the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard than what the media has previously reported. They are followed by an interview with Sheppard’s father, Allan Sheppard”

Episode Rundown

[00:00:20] “On August 31st, 2009 Darcy Allan Sheppard was killed on Bloor Street West. Michael Bryant the former attorney general of Ontario was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death. In the immediate aftermath much was made of Bryant’s reputation for pugnacious, aggressive behaviour the term road rage came up many times. The press paid close attention to the fact that Bryant almost instantly hired Navigator as his crisis PR team and Marie Henein as his criminal defense lawyer. But then as the days progressed the media’s focus shifted, it shifted away from Bryant’s reputation and onto Darcy Allan Sheppard’s. Sheppard we were told was a squeegee punk, bike messenger, a drunk also, aggressive and confrontational. Less than a year later all charges against Michael Bryant was dropped. The crown prosecutor proclaimed that Sheppard had been the aggressor and produced a photo of Darcy Allan Sheppard mohawked and half naked, screaming into the driver’s side window of a different car. Since then Michael Bryant has been telling his side of the story again and again.” Jesse

Wayne Scott has obtained and provided to CANADALAND audio tape of the two closest eyewitnesses to the initial altercation between Bryant and Sheppard.


Conclusion of the Police Reconstruction Report – Michael Bryant

June 11, 2014

Toronto Police prepared a detailed collision reconstruction report based on eyewitness accounts, forensic evidence and video evidence. This report was made available to Michael Bryant and his legal team BEFORE Mr. Bryant came up with his version of the events.

Note that the forensic investigation revealed that:

Blood was not located on the steering wheel, passenger side or on the tires of the vehicle. 

Below are the Conclusions of the report. The full Police Collision Reconstruction Report is available here.

Compare its contents to the Special Prosecutor’s brief in court and you will be struck by the vast differences.


 

CONCLUSION

 

Mr. BRYANT and Mr. SHEPPARD shared responsibility in the death of Mr. SHEPPARD.

 

Mr. BRYANT struck Mr. SHEPPARD not once, but twice from a stopped position on Bloor Street West east of the pedestrian signalized intersection which was captured on a building security cameras at#112 Bloor Street West.

 

The first collision occurred after Mr. SHEPPARD stopped his bike in front of the Saab. Mr BRYANT accelerated the Saab from a stopped position into the rear of the bicycle, knocking the bicycle over and jostling Mr. SHEPPARD.

 

The second collision occurred after Mr. SHEPPARD righted his bicycle in front of Mr. BRYANT. The Saab was stopped for two seconds. Mr. BRYANT rapidly accelerated the Saab again into the stopped cyclist, Mr. SHEPPARD was struck, carried on the hood of the car and thrown to the ground from the force of the impact.

 

Mr. BRYANT reversed his Saab and drove around the bicycle which was on the ground with Mr. SHEPPARD.

 

As Mr. BRYANT tried to drive around Mr, SHEPPARD and the bicycle, Mr. SHEPPARD approached the Saab and held onto the drivers’ side of the vehicle. Mr. BRYANT accelerated rapidly in a south westerly direction into on-coming traffic.

 

There was no physical evidence, or independent witness statements suggesting Mr. SHEPPARD affected the steering of the Saab, or anything to suggest he physically attacked Mr. BRYANT.

 

Mr. BRYANT drove the Saab on the roadway westbound in the eastbound lanes with Mr. SHEPPARD holding onto the drivers’ side of the vehicle.

 

Mr. SHEPPARD’s left leg struck a tree near#131Bloor Street West, and he continued to hold onto the side of the vehicle.

 

Mr. SHEPPARD held onto the side of the vehicle until his torso struck a fire hydrant.

 

Mr. SHEPPARD landed on the pavement striking his head on the asphalt.

 

Mr. BRYANT continued to drive the Saab in a westerly direction and left Mr. SHEPPARD lying on the street.

 

Mr. BRYANT drove westbound on Bloor Street West and turned north on Avenue Road. Mr. BRYANT entered the Hyatt Regency Hotel and parked his vehicle. Mr. BRYANT had a conversation with the concierge and called police. (three minutes later)

 

Mr. SHEPPARD died as a result of his injuries sustained in the collision.

 

Mr. BRYANT’s final actions in the third collision sequence led to the death of Mr. SHEPPARD. Mr. BRYANT’s failure to stop the Saab when Mr. SHEPPARD deliberately hung on to the side of the Saab, and driving his vehicle on the opposite side of the road in an attempt to dislodge Mr. SHEPPARD from his vehicle gave the appearance of a deliberate act according to witnesses.

Mr. SHEPPARD also is responsible for his actions that led up to the concluding incident.

All of these incidents were unfortunate and avoidable.

 


Michael Bryant’s complaints of harsh treatment by Toronto Police proven false

August 27, 2012

Bryant’s Lawyer praised Police investigation

Bryant Watch August 27, 2012

Michael Bryant in custody

Michael Bryant’s memoir about the night he killed Darcy Allan Sheppard is to be released tomorrow. The book is entitled “28 Seconds” and gives his self-serving account of the events that evening.

Bryant has been on a media tour of soft-ball interviews allowing him to promote the book while avoiding questions regarding the parts of his version that directly conflict with the evidence and or prior statements contained in court transcripts. Bryant revealed that he was an alcoholic until 2006. It’s not known if and when he had any relapses because no one in the media had asked him the question.

One of the new charges Bryant raised is police rushed to judgment when they charged him in Sheppard’s death.

“He is wrong,” police spokesman Mark Pugash protested.

“He had a team of very aggressive, very good lawyers whose job it is to jump on anything that will help their client, and we haven’t heard anything about this (until now),” Pugash said. “If he had all these concerns, why has he been quiet for the last three years? Why have his lawyers not raised a single one of these concerns?”

In fact in the court transcripts Bryant’s lawyer Marie Henein praised the treatment Bryant received from police:

“I want to take a moment to also express our thanks to Detective Britton, Detective Lane, Detective Lalla, for a thorough and evenhanded investigation.

I was confident throughout this case that we would be treated the same as, not better and not worse, than any other accused, that Mr. Peck would do no more and no less than is demanded in the prosecution of any case.”

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Darcy Allan Sheppard – A life’s last moments

August 31, 2010

Mess Media, December 7, 2009

Darcy Allan Sheppard

Darcy Allan Sheppard

On August 31, 2009, former attorney general for Ontario, Michael Bryant, killed cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard in one of the most violent and horrific cases of road rage in Toronto’s history.

Neither Michael Bryant nor his wife, entertainment lawyer Susan Abramovitch, gave statements to police regarding the circumstances that led to Darcy Allan Sheppard’s death. They will have many months to tailor their testimonies to fit the known evidence and weave it seamlessly into a vigorous defense mounted by one of the most elite criminal lawyers in the country.

Bryant’s victim, Darcy Allan Sheppard, who was known as Al to his friends, will not have a voice at the trial. He will not have an opportunity to challenge Michael Bryant’s carefully scripted and rehearsed testimony. He will not have a chance to correct Bryant’s devoted wife and an experienced lawyer when she unconditionally supports her husband of twelve years on the witness stand.

Al’s voice needs to be heard. It’s important that people have an opportunity to understand his life’s last moments. Al could have been any one of us. He just happened to be the cyclist who crossed paths with a driver on the verge of a road rage meltdown.

I have attempted to rebuild those last moments of Al’s life from his point of view. All of the events are based on the factual evidence contained in security camera video, witness statements and news reports. Al’s point of view is also primarily based on the factual evidence as well as my own experiences as a bike messenger and cyclist.

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More Coverage of Michael Bryant’s case

June 4, 2010

There is a facebook group seeking Justice for Darcy Sheppard

Sign the petition

AND

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?! no.28 – Blood on Bloor: Michael Bryant, Privilege, and Murder.

This is an interesting podcast about the case: Listen here

For those who might be unfamiliar with What’s All This Then?! – it’s typically a podcast about unusual Toronto musicians. Interviews, reviews, etc. This episode is an exception: it’s an examination of what actually happened between ex-attorney general Michael Bryant and bike courier Al Sheppard which resulted in Sheppard’s death.

AND:

From the Legion of Decency Blog – Sometimes the Dragon Wins

That said, as the special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping the charges, it was hard to feel like justice was being served, or that we’re all still somehow equal in the eyes of the law.

I don’t know why a “special prosecutor” had to be brought in to handle the case, although it makes sense that you can’t have a local Crown prosecuting his former boss without somebody questioning the possibility of impropriety. But when this special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping charges, I couldn’t help feeling a greater impropriety was taking place with somebody in charge who would never need to face much local scrutiny or accountability.

Instead of making sure Michael Bryant didn’t get preferential treatment, what was revealed yesterday suggested that’s exactly what he received.

Prosecutors and Bryant’s legal team seemed to share an inordinate amount of information and a lot of time and money was spent investigating the character of the deceased while hard forensic evidence (or the fact it had never been collected) seemed of lesser importance. It was as if both sides were trying the case in private, searching for a path to make it all go away.

Read more at The Legion of Decency


Canada’s cycle couriers: in the eyes of the law, roadkill

June 4, 2010

2004 Markus Cook Award Winner, Buffalo Bill writes an insightful piece about the failure of justice in Toronto.

By Buffalo Bill

The Guardian, May 28, 2010

What message does it send out that Michael Bryant faces no charges after his car crushed Darcy Allan Sheppard to death?

The video of the initial encounter is clear: a cyclist pulls up in front of a stationary car at red traffic light, and stops; after a few moments, the car jerks forward, reverses and then drives straight into the cyclist, knocking him off his bike and onto the bonnet and off again. The car stops briefly, and then drives around the cyclist to carry on down the road. As the car passes, the cyclist grabs hold of the car. Exactly what happens next is not as obvious, as there is no video, but at least this much is not disputed: the car moves over into the oncoming carriageway, hits some street furniture on the sidewalk, denting its side-panels, and at some point, the cyclist loses his grip on the car and falls dead in the roadway.

The driver later hands himself over the police and, in due course, is charged with “criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death”. Last week, the legal proceedings reached their conclusion. The charges against the driver were dropped by the special prosecutor appointed by the province of Ontario to investigate the case, who said that the prosecution had determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

An obvious miscarriage of justice, you might say, but an outcome that was feared by the Toronto messenger community once the identity of the driver became known. Michael Bryant is a former attorney general of Ontario, and Darcy Allan Sheppard was a bicycle messenger. The incident became a major media event, not least because Bryant engaged a well-known Canadian PR company very shortly after Sheppard’s death.

Read the full report at the Guardian


This is justice?

June 3, 2010

By Bob Mionske

Bicycling Magazine’s Road Rights, June 3, 2010

original piece is here

Lawyer Bob Mionske at Bicycling Magazine published this well written piece about the case today.

When a cyclist is killed by a driver, justice is nearly always stacked toward the driver. And in this case in Toronto, the scales were tilted even more than usual.

By Bob Mionske

On August 31, 2009, the worlds of two strangers collided in the posh Bloor Street shopping district of Toronto. In the aftermath, one of those strangers, a bicycle messenger, lay dead, while the other stranger, the former Attorney General of Ontario and a rising political star, stood accused of causing the cyclist’s death.

About a year later, on Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Richard Peck, the special prosecutor appointed to try the case, dropped all charges against Michael Bryant, the former Attorney General accused of causing the death of bicycle messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard.

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.

From the beginning, this case involved more than just an encounter between a cyclist and a motorist gone awry. As I noted in When Worlds Collide , issues of race, class, and power were a subtext to this case from the moment that Bryant shut off his car’s ignition in the driveway of a luxury hotel, after fleeing the scene where Darcy Sheppard lay dying in the street.

With these undercurrents, it was apparent that no less than the rule of law was at stake in this case. As explained in an article by Rick Bernardi that appeared in Dandyhorse :

The rule of law means that a nation is governed by laws, rather than by the caprices of the powerful few. It means, among other things, that nobody, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, is above the law. It means that even the powerless can find justice under the law, and that even the powerful can be brought to justice. It’s an idea that is ingrained in western society.

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Michael Bryant’s case put over until April 14.

March 5, 2010

Bryant did not appear. Disclosure is now complete.

Michael Bryant was a no-show in court once again today but the criminal case against him continues to move forward. Bryant’s lawyer, Marie Henein received the police reconstructionist report which is the final major piece of disclosure.

Mark Sandler appeared for the Crown before Justice Paul Bently at the Old City Hall Court. The case was put over until April 14.

Now that disclosure is complete Bryant will elect how he wishes to be tried. He may choose to be tried in the Ontario Court of Justice in front of a judge only, or in the higher court, the Superior Court in front of a judge alone or a judge and jury.

Bryant is the former attorney general for Ontario who worked closely with Crown prosecutors and judges. Independent prosecutor, Richard Peck, from Bryant’s home province of British Columbia will represent the Crown in the criminal trial.

Bryant has 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.

Video evidence shows Bryant deliberately rammed his car into Sheppard from behind before attempting to flee the scene of the attack. Sheppard grabbed on to his car and Bryant fled with Sheppard attached.

Witnesses then say that Bryant sped away at about 90 km/hr on the wrong side of the road. He mounted the curb and intentionally drove into obstacles to knock Sheppard off his car. Sheppard died from the resulting multiple collisions.