Apparently (Al Sheppard) – Video and Song!

July 27, 2010

Update: The video is now out!

Uncle Dropsi and Sunny D have teamed up on a new track about Darcy Allan Sheppard.

In their own words:

This track is about our friend Al, who was run down and killed in a road rage incident on August 31, 2009. He was killed by the former Attorney General of our province (like a state) and the bastard had the charges dropped almost a year later. Many from Toronto’s – and the world’s – cycling community were absolutely incensed that there were no consequences to taking my friend’s life. Anyone who knows, knows. This is our take on it.

The song can be heard and downloaded for free at sunnyd.bandcamp.com

Uncle Dropsi on myspace

Sunny D on myspace


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


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.


The Facts of the Michael Bryant Case so far

December 9, 2009

Mess Media, December 9, 2009

Former Ontario attorney-general Michael 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.

Much has been written about the case as it continues to wind its way through the justice system but here is a summary of the facts of the case so far.

The surveillance video shows Bryant pull to a stop at a red light. Then we see Sheppard pass Bryant and stop in front of Bryant’s car at the red light. We don’t know if any altercation happened before the video begins but neither Bryant not Sheppard exchanged words or seemed enraged or threatened at this time.

The video then shows the light change to green. Sheppard has his back turned to Bryant. Sheppard doesn’t move so Bryant twice moved his car toward Sheppard. The two seem to exchange words and then Bryant deliberately rammed his car into Sheppard, knocking him to the ground.

The key piece of video evidence shows that Michael Bryant was the aggressor. It factually documents his deliberate attack on Sheppard.

Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Bryant quietly gets a new job

December 6, 2009

Bay Street law firm Ogilvy Renault chooses entitlement over ethics

Mess Media, December 6, 2009

The Toronto Star reported yesterday that former attorney general Michael Bryant, who is facing criminal charges stemming from the killing of cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, “has quietly begun work at a prestigious law firm.”

John West, senior partner at Ogilvy Renault‘s Toronto office, said Bryant is working with the firm’s energy law team.

“Michael is a person we believe brings a lot of value to the table. We recognize that in some quarters it could potentially be viewed as controversial … it’s just a human tragedy all around,” West said Friday.

“But, as lawyers, we believe in the rule of law … and that means we believe first of all in the presumption of innocence and Michael is entitled to the same treatment and respect that you and I are.

“The fact that he’s a former cabinet minister doesn’t mean that he gets lesser treatment, it means he’s entitled to the same treatment that all of us are … and Michael is equally entitled to earn a living.”

Bay Street law firm, Ogilvy Renault, with offices high atop the golden towers of the Royal Bank Plaza, certainly has the legal right to appoint Bryant to a privileged position but if the firm is only providing Bryant with the same treatment that all of us are entitled to then I’m sure Mr West could quickly name all of the other accused killers he has hired or that are currently employed by Ogilvy Renault.

The presumption of innocence applies to the rule of law. It doesn’t necessarily apply to hiring decisions and the public doesn’t require a criminal trial and a ruling by a judge to form an opinion. The public can watch what happened on video or listen to eyewitness statements as Michael Bryant’s “innocent until proven guilty” behaviour was captured live in front of many witnesses.

A couple of days after the killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard, Michael Bryant thought the charges were so serious that he should resign from his position as CEO of Invest Toronto. In a letter to Toronto Mayor David Miller, he wrote that :

“It would, however, be unfair to you, the (Invest Toronto) board and above all to the residents of Toronto to allow this event to distract from the vital efforts of Invest Toronto,” the statement says.

“I do not believe, however, that I can continue in this position on account of the circumstances of the past two days,”

In other words, Bryant’s employment at Invest Toronto is wrong but his employment at Ogilvy Renault is entitled.

What we can conclude from Michael Bryant’s statement and Ogilvy Renault’s hiring decision is that Ogilvy Renault and its senior partner, John West, have much lower ethics and standards than Invest Toronto and other firms.

Ogilvy Renault is the former employer of Brian Mulroney. “Mulroney twice failed his bar exams, but the firm kept him due to his charming personality.”


Bryant’s lawyers meeting behind closed doors for pre-trial November 30

November 29, 2009

Michael Bryant was a no show for his first two court appearances on October 19 and November 16.

Provincial Court Justice Paul Bentley, will meet behind closed doors with the all parties for a judicial pre-trial on November 30.

Bryant’s next court date is December 7, 2009. Torontonians are anxiously awaiting his first appearance in court.

Michael Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death after running over and dragging cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, on August 31, 2009.


Michael Bryant: Toronto’s Carnell Fitzpatrick

November 19, 2009

The death of Toronto bike messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard is similar to the 1999 murder of Chicago bike messenger Thomas McBride.

Mess Media, November 19, 2009

The case of the road rage killing of Toronto bike messenger, Darcy Allan Sheppard by former attorney general Michael Bryant has many similarities to the murder of another bike messenger, ten years earlier.

Sheppard was killed on August 31, 2009 after Bryant deliberately rammed his car into him knocking Sheppard to the ground. Before mowing Sheppard down, Bryant had threatened him twice by accelerating his car up close to Sheppard and then stopping without hitting him. After the initial attack Bryant attempted to flee the scene on the wrong side of the road with Sheppard holding on to Bryant’s vehicle. Bryant killed Sheppard by smashing him into trees, a mailbox and fire hydrant before driving away.

On the morning of April 26, 1999, Thomas McBride was riding eastbound on West Washington on his way to work as a bike messenger in the Chicago Loop. Witnesses reported a near miss or minor altercation between McBride and the driver of a green 1997 Chevy Tahoe.

The SUV, driven by Carnell Fitzpatrick, cut McBride off after running a stop sign. McBride slammed his hand against the SUV as a means of alerting the driver to his location and that Fitzpatrick was coming perilously close to hitting him. The two exchanged words and Fitzpatrick like Michael Bryant steered his vehicle up close behind the cyclist before accelerating forward to deliberately hit him.

Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Bryant’s privileged class and road rage

November 11, 2009

Mess Media, November 11, 2009

On August 31, 2009, former attorney general of Ontario, Michael Bryant, in a fit of road rage intentionally slammed his car into cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard after Sheppard passed his car and pulled to a stop in front of Bryant at a red light in a construction zone.

After Sheppard grabbed on to Bryant’s car, Bryant sped away on the wrong side of the road, and mounted the curb, deliberately smashing Sheppard into a mailbox, fire hydrant and other fixed obstacles, eventually killing him.

Since the attack, many people in the media that knew Michael Bryant have come to his defence. Most of the defence is connected to Bryant’s $600 per hour public relations firm Navigator Ltd. but some others genuinely find it difficult to believe that someone like Bryant could be capable of such a vicious attack. He is educated, prominent and successful.

“And he is never going to commit another crime in his life. Why would you have to put a guy like that in jail?” says criminal lawyer, Robert Rotenberg echoing what many of Bryant’s friends are thinking.

But what kind of person gets carried away by road rage?

In the span of about thirteen months there have been at least three high profile cases of road rage attacks on cyclists. Two of them resulted in critical injuries and one in death. In all three attacks, the perpetrators were from the privileged class – a doctor, a show jumping son of wealthy parents and a former attorney general for Ontario. All three perpetrators deliberately drove their vehicles into their victims and all three seemed to want to punish their victims or teach them a lesson.

Read the rest of this entry »


Beyond a reasonable doubt

November 4, 2009

Mess Media, November 4, 2009

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

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

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

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