High court tosses out dangerous driving conviction

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THE Manitoba Court of Appeal has tossed out eyewitness evidence from two Winnipeg police officers and freed a man accused of leading officers on a high-speed chase.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/08/2007 (5584 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE Manitoba Court of Appeal has tossed out eyewitness evidence from two Winnipeg police officers and freed a man accused of leading officers on a high-speed chase.

Cody Klyne was convicted earlier this year of charges including dangerous driving and flight from police following an incident last September.

He is now a free man after the province’s highest court ruled Monday the trial judge put too much weigh on the fact police identified Klyne as the culprit.

The incident officers spotted a stolen car and tried to pull it over, only to have the driver and his passenger speed away.

A six-minute high-speed chase ensued before police aborted it because of dangerous conditions, which included having their cruiser car rammed.

Neither officer was able to provide a description of the occupants.

Moments later, the same vehicle was spotted by another police car and the two officers spotted two native males inside, admitting they only caught a glimpse for a couple of seconds. The stolen vehicle quickly disappeared from their sight.Police continued to search the area and two native men were seen running from a stolen vehicle about 20 minutes later. Clyne was arrested after a short foot chase.

The two officers who briefly saw the occupants of the vehicle identified Clyne as being the driver.

Their evidence was the only direct link for the Crown and was the pivotal issue at trial.

“It would be unsafe to convict,” Joyal said after a review of the case. He said it’s possible Clyne was actually a passenger, and not the driver, based on the fact the other man who ran from the car wasn’t arrested.

“Given that there is evidence on the record concerning the possible involvement of another native male, the initial one-to-two second observation (by the officers) requires all the more scrutiny,” said Joyal.

“In light of the inherently frail one-to-two second observation…the basis for doubt is so strong that it can be said that no reasonable jury properly instructed could safely convict.”

Clyne never did take the witness stand to deny the allegations, but Joyal said that fact shouldn’t override the Crown’s “burden of proof.”

www.mikeoncrime.com

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