Defence asking for trial of Lakeshore father to be stayed
The trial of a Lakeshore father, charged with negligence in the death of two of his children, could be stayed.
The defence is asking Justice Kirk Munroe to stay the charges against Andrew Williams, because of what lawyer Laura Joy calls an abuse of process.
The trial started on Dec. 5, 2016.
It was on recess during the Christmas holidays and was set to resume today with closing arguments, but the defence has instead filed a motion, saying her clients’ rights to a fair trial have been violated.
Williams has taken the stand in his own defence and his trial, for criminal negligence and dangerous driving, was set for closing arguments. But now Joy has filed an application to stay the charges.
On June 10, 2012, the minivan driven by Williams was involved in a collision with a Canadian Pacific railway train on Strong Road in Lakeshore. The crash killed 6-year-old Wynter and 3-year-old Brooklyn. Williams himself was hurt, along with his two other children.
Among her concerns, Joy tells CTV News, is how long it took for criminal charges to be laid.
Williams wasn't charged until 14 months after the crash.
Joy is also arguing CP Rail, as a private company, should not be allowed to investigate itself.
The OPP was involved in the investigation, but Joy says much of what was decided was based on the evidence CP chose to give the opp.
A big part of the defence motion, is a lost evidence application.
On the day of the collision, the communications between the train conductor and CP dispatchers were all recorded on hard drives that cannot be found.
CP police officer Const. Christain Iverson took the stand. He says he has investigated why this has happened and has been told by CP employees that when the company's rail traffic control operations moved from Montreal to Calgary, hard drives were misplaced or stolen.
Crown attorney Walter Costa pointed out communications over a number of years have been lost, not just from this one fatal accident.
Munroe is expected to make a decision sometime this week.
If the defence application is successful and the judge agrees with Joy, the trial will end and the charges will be stayed.
Costa says if the application fails, the two sides will begin closing arguments.