Crown handed legal-fee payments

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Crown handed legal-fee payments

The Crown must pay part of the legal bills of two motorcyclists charged in the death of a pedestrian for not disclosing relevant medical evidence, a judge ruled yesterday. 

And Justice Peter McIntyre also said the public purse is on the hook for any medical expert the lawyers for [the accused] have to consult. McIntyre made the rare costs ruling against  the prosecutor’s office after finding [the accused’s] Charter rights were breached. Lawyers David Chow and Charlie Stewart had argued the evidence of medical examiner Dr. Sam Andrews should be excluded because of late disclosure.

The lawyers didn’t find out until after their clients’ trial started in March that several pages of medical records weren’t provided to them by the Crown. Prosecutor Frances Turner said it wasn’t known whether police never received the documents, didn’t pass them onto the Crown, or they were lost by someone in her office. McIntyre said while the lack of disclosure wasn’t intentional, a costs order would send a message to the authorities about the need to strictly provide the defence with all the evidence.  

The judge ruled the lack of disclosure impacted the two accused’s right to make full answer in defence, but the violation was rectified by delaying their trial. He said the crown must pay for the cost of Chow and Stewart preparing their Charter arguments, as well as a medical expert to review Andrews’ findings. [the accused], 28, and [the accused], 27, each face charges of criminal negligence causing death in connection with a May 9, 2005 crash on 17th Ave S.W. The two men were allegedly racing from a red light at 10 ST. when [the accused] struck [the victim].

[the victim] died nine days later in hospital after being taken off a respirator, following the discovery of terminal cancer in his lungs. Andrews listed the cause of death as blunt trauma injuries from the crash.

A date to resume the trial will be set June 15.


Calgary Sun
By: Kevin Martin