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Closing arguments given in fatal accident trial
Chase Donaldson’s fate now rests with Supreme Court judge Frank Cole.
Donaldson, 29, of Coldstream, is facing counts of dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident in connection with the death on April 30, 2010 of Kiera-Leigh Carlson, 22.
Carlson was struck by a car driven by Donaldson as she walked to work along Aberdeen Road in Coldstream shortly before 9 p.m.
Crown argued that Donaldson had been racing along the road and lost control rounding a final corner on Aberdeen. Crown said a car driven by a Coldstream couple that had just turned onto Aberdeen Road from Highway 6 had to go into the northbound lane to avoid Donaldson’s car coming right at them in their southbound lane.
Defence contends that Donaldson saw headlights of a car coming right at him or in his lane, and he accelerated and swerved left to avoid a head-on collision.
The nine-day trial held over the course of three weeks wrapped up Monday afternoon as lawyers handed in closing submissions to Cole.
In written copies given to the media, Crown lawyer Iain Currie said the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt “not only that the accused drove too fast on Aberdeen Road so that he could not and did not maintain his lane and stop for the red light, but also that he did so intentionally, knowing of the danger his speed would create.
“The Crown also submits that the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did not stop, provide his name and offer assistance, and did so in a state of at least wilful blindness that he had struck a person.”
Referring to the better part of the three days Donaldson spent testifying on the witness stand, Currie said “the accused’s account (of what happened that night) is inconsistent and profoundly illogical.”
In response to Currie’s submission, Donaldson lawyers Glenn Verdurmen and Paul Danyliu wrote that “evidence relied upon by the Crown contains significant inconsistencies and much of it is highly unreliable.”
Defence also said evidence presented before Cole has “been consistent with Donaldson’s version of events,” and that the Crown did not prove the charges against Donaldson beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Mr. Donaldson should be acquitted of the charges,” wrote his lawyers.
In concluding their 45-page submission, Verdurmen and Danyliu said “Mr. Donaldson’s conduct did not amount to an act that should be criminalized.
“There is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have observed in the accused’s circumstances, and no proof that the accused failed to stop at the scene of an accident with the intent to escape liability.”
Cole told both sides he would give his judgment on Tuesday at 10 a.m. unless he was able to finish his reasons for judgment early.
If he did, said Cole, he would notify both parties on Thursday, and the decision would be read Friday at 9 a.m.