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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Dangerous operation of motor vehicle - Causing death

Tuesday, December 24, 2019 @ 6:19 AM  

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Appeal by the accused, Singh, from a conviction and sentence for dangerous driving causing death. The accused operated a 53-foot tractor trailer that collided with an oncoming tractor trailer, killing the other vehicle's driver. The accident occurred the day after a snowstorm had closed the highway. Road and weather conditions were poor, with blowing and drifting snow that caused prolonged whiteouts. The road was covered in snow and ice. Witnesses stated that immediately prior to the collision, the accused passed a vehicle, forcing an oncoming truck onto the shoulder to avoid a collision. The fatal collision occurred when the accused attempted to pass two vehicles that had just overtaken him. The accused was convicted. The near-miss prior to the fatal collision formed part of the basis for the dangerous driving conviction. The accused was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, less credit, plus a five-year driving prohibition. The accused appealed the conviction and sentence.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not misapprehend the evidence regarding the accused's manner of driving. Nor did the trial judge err in considering the prior near-miss as dangerous driving, as the accused's conduct leading to the fatal collision involved a series of events that demonstrated a pattern of behaviour in which the accused failed to modify his driving. The trial judge properly found that the accused's conduct constituted a marked departure from the standard of care. The attempt to use the oncoming lane to pass in snowy and icy whiteout weather represented a wanton and reckless disregard for others' safety. The reasons for judgment clearly and sufficiently articulated the path to conviction. The sentence imposed was not harsh or excessive. Sentence: three years' imprisonment; five-year driving prohibition.

R. v. Singh, [2019] O.J. No. 5634, Ontario Court of Appeal, M.L. Benotto, D.M. Brown and D. Paciocco JJ.A., November 5, 2019. Digest No. TLD-December232019003