Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trial judge's error claimed in appeal of dangerous-driving acquittal

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A trial judge has been accused of ignoring vital evidence during a Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing.

The accusation came Friday in an appeal of a man's acquittal of a dangerous-driving charge involving a fatal hit-and-run in 2008 near Oak Bluff.

Roland Artimowich was found not guilty despite admitting to fleeing the scene and driving 40 km/h faster than the posted speed limit in his Jaguar. He also admitted he had spent the night leading up to the crash drinking.

Odette Dequier, 46, was killed in November 2008 in a crash on Highway 3 near Oak Bluff. She was driving her pickup truck west through town when she was struck head-on by a van. Police said the van had been rear-ended by a speeding 1999 Jaguar, forcing the van's driver to lose control of the vehicle, cross the median and strike Dequier's truck.

Dequier was taken to Health Sciences Centre in critical condition, where she died a week later from her injuries. The driver of the Jaguar fled on foot before police arrived.

Artimowich turned himself in to police the following day, admitting he was behind the wheel of his mother's Jaguar. He claimed he got frightened by the sight of Dequier trapped inside the wreckage of her vehicle and didn't want to stick around to see more.

Crown counsel Chris Vanderhooft told the three-justice panel Justice Morris Kaufman erred in law when he refused to consider key evidence that was presented during the trial -- testimony of a witness who had arrived on the scene and police photographs taken by a traffic-collision reconstruction analyst.

Vanderhooft said Kaufman's explanation that he had not been given sufficient information by the Crown about the surrounding circumstances, including posted speed limits, road condition and location of the accident was not correct.

Vanderhooft said all the key evidence was presented to Kaufman.

The justices reserved their decision.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2013 A9

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