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Criminal Negligence Causing Death Conviction in Canada
Emma Czornobaj has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death by a jury at a Montreal courthouse, according to The Montreal Gazette. The 25-year-old woman was found guilty just four days into the trial on two counts each of criminal negligence causing death. The counts carry a maximum life sentence. She was also convicted of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death. This charge comes with a maximum sentence of 14 years.
Czornobaj stopped her vehicle in the left lane of Highway 30 in Candiac on June 27, 2010 in an attempt to rescue ducklings. Just moments later, a motorcycle driven by Andre Roy and his daughter, Jessie, slammed into her parked car. Both people on the motorcycle died of their injuries.
The lawyer for Czornobaj, Marc Labelle, said, “There may be room here in this case. But we’ll evaluate that: (whether) to ask the (Quebec) Court of Appeal if the way that a jury has to (consider) criminal negligence in Canada should be revised. Here we have a situation where the act was considered dangerous by the jury — that’s obvious. But there was no ill will at all — no alcohol, no speeding, no race. In a case like this, the instructions that the judge gave (to the jury) are a little bit unjust for a citizen in this situation.”
Labelle also said that he had not issue with the instructions given to the jury by Superior Court Justice Eliane Perreault prior to deliberation.
“What I’m saying is that the instructions (all) judges are obliged to give on criminal negligence can’t suit a case like this. What the jury is asked is: consider the act, if it is dangerous, objectively, then you may infer there was a crime. What I’m saying is, the fact that (Perreault) had to give these instructions brings me to the conclusion that, in this field, Canadian law failed.”
Labelle said his client was willing to plead guilty to some of the four charges levied against her, but that a plea bargain was not possible due to the courts wanting her to serve jail time.
“She is in shock. What do you expect? Already, to have caused the deaths of two people, you know, it’s really something. And the verdict just confirmed that it was criminal. She’s pretty emotional right now,” Labelle said.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for August 8.
Pauline Volikakis witnessed the entire incident. She is the wife and mother of the two victims.Canadian Driver Convicted on Four Charges of Collision Involving Ducks by Jim Vassallo