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Judge finds driver not guilty

A Vernon man has been acquitted of charges in connection with an October 2008 accident that seriously injured a Vernon mother of six.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Hope Hyslop found Peter Wilbert Dorey not guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and not guilty of refusing to provide a breath sample.

The charges stemmed from an accident on Oct. 1, 2008, at 11:15 p.m., when a northbound Dodge pickup failed to stop for a red light and collided with an eastbound Chevrolet van.

The passenger in the van, the mother of six, was trapped and had to be freed using the Jaws of Life.

“The trial judge found that the lack of evidence of bad driving prior to the instant the accident occurred (evidence such as high speeds or erratic driving), and the lack of evidence of any impairment by alcohol was critical,” said Richard Hewson, Dorey’s lawyer. “She held that the accident resulted from momentary inattention, and not criminal conduct.”

Hewson said his client had a reasonable excuse for refusing to blow into a roadside screening device, because the police had told him he had the right to call a lawyer, and had allowed him to start trying, but then required him to blow before he had been able to get legal advice.

That fact was corroborated by Crown counsel.

“The initial problem was the police gave the accused all of his rights in advance of doing the approved screening device demand,” said Crown lawyer Howard Pontious. “The problem is the ASD is required to be done immediately... We don’t really have any evidence of significance to any drinking degree at all.

“All we have left is that he went through a red light.”

 

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