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Bizarre Dragging Death in Toronto

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posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 02:41 PM
A scene of mayhem was played out on the streets of Toronto on Monday night, Aug. 31, 09. A cyclist was dragged to his death after an altercation with a motorist on one of Toronto's main thoroughfares. The motorist is reported to have driven down the wrong side of the street brushing up against objects on the sidewalk trying to dislodge the cyclist who was holding on to the side of the car.

It sounds like a scene out of movie crime fiction, but it really happened. The most astonishing thing of all about the story is that the driver of the car in question is a former Attorney General of Ontario.

The car in question is a late model Saab convertible. My question to members is, "Is it possible for someone on a bicycle, clinging to the driver's side of such a car, to get their hand caught in something that would make it impossible for them to let go of the vehicle when the driver went berserk?"

I think a former bike courier, like the victim in this case, a man in his thirties would have the sense to let go of the vehicle under the circumstances. I'm sure that in the court case that eventually takes place, the person charged with the crime, (I believe they are charging the driver with criminal negligence causing death) will plead self defense and that he thought his life would be in danger if he stopped. He will probably say that he shouted at the cyclist to let go of the vehicle, but he did not.

Is it possible that the cyclist's hand was stuck somehow and that maybe he was unable to let go? Outside of the movies I can't think of another reason for someone to hold on like that. One occasionally reads about arresting police officers being dragged for this reason as they reach in to take someone's keys.

This is going to be a very interesting case to observe in Toronto especially because of the high profile defendant and the ongoing turf battle for space on the streets between cyclists and drivers.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 02:44 PM
sounds like something from final destination movie. ouch

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:25 PM
This is going to be a tough case in court if it goes to trial. I think we will see one of Toronto's high profile, ultra wily criminal attorneys representing the former Attorney General, perhaps Eddie Greenspan himself.

The prosecution side will have to play this very carefully. I hope we get a tough as nails veteran prosecutor on the case who does the job like a pro, regardless of political pressure. That's one side of me. The other side looks at a photo of the defendant's family, especially his two young children and hopes for humanity, at least at sentencing.

Always mindful of course, that the victim also had a young family who will never see their father alive again.

Memo to the prosecution: Check the victim's hands for trauma. They may tell the story of whether or not he was caught on something and unable to let go of the vehicle.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:26 PM
I think the fact it is a former attorney general and former mp or mpp or something ( I don't follow politics sorry) and a ceo of some financial group makes me wonder if he will get off.
Right now they are getting ready to charge the guy and i am kinda thinking by the time this ends he will get off by some dumb technicality.....much like the drug squad cops there if anybody has seen that case.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:32 PM
the first thing I think about

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by DrumsRfun
I think the fact it is a former attorney general and former mp or mpp or something ( I don't follow politics sorry) and a ceo of some financial group makes me wonder if he will get off.

He ain't gonna walk...that I can guarantee you.

And I know that Dalton is just filling his pants in relief that Bryant had quit...and the Tories lamenting that he had.

But he won't get a pass on this one...too high-profile an occurance.

Condolences to friends and family of the victim.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:40 PM
reply to post by DrumsRfun

You could have a point.

I don't know all the possible charges that could have been laid in the case. I think "criminal negligence causing death" is only one step above "careless driving."

On the face of it, given the facts of the manouvers untertaken by the driver of the car, wrong side of the road, up on the side walk, the wrong sidewalk, and trying to brush the victim off against poles and potted plants, etc., I would have expected a more serious charge, but that would depend on what was available. Manslaughter?

Surely what was done to the courier constitutes something more serious than criminal negligence. It depends what is available on the books though. I have faith that the police will try to crucify the guy. The problems begin, as they often do, in the Crown Attorney's office.

The charge laid may in fact be evidence of the fix being in, in that nice unruffled and discreet way that it sometimes is in Toronto.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by TrainDispatcher

It's got to be something like that. I can't imagine anyone holding on willingly for the sort of obstacle course the driver set up for the victim in this case. I think his hand had to be stuck somehow.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 06:36 PM
There was a blonde in the car with Bryant as they sped away. They were later found at a hotel. Bryant's wife is a brunette. Susan Abramovitch, an entertainment lawyer.

Could that be why he panicked and fled the scene?

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 07:08 PM
reply to post by Gamma MO

I did not know that.

I haven't had my eye on the news this evening. I know there was (perhaps still is) a demonstration of bicycle couriers on Bloor St. near where the the victim was killed. They were blocking traffic there around 6:00 PM.

I'm wondering also if there was liquor involved in the story.

Any way you slice it, this is going to be a big story in the coming weeks. Bryant has been released from custody. I think his next court appearance is at the end of September. (October 19, according to Wikipedia, .)

Cyclists in the city must be outraged. At present they believe that they are not being protected by the authorities and now a former Attorney General of the province behaves in a way that is almost the moral equivalent of using the Cossacks to cut people down in the street. The only difference being that it was unpremeditated, I assume.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 07:43 PM
Interesting to see that Bryant has been charged under the street racing laws that he drafted.

The maximum sentence is life, but no one has been sentenced to the max yet. Hopefully Bryant is the first.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:05 PM
Bryant gets a very sympathetic write up here.

Note the reference to René Lévesque's vehicular manslaughter on the way home from a party. To sum up what happened on that night in that way is unconscionable journalism.

The story that I read in the press years ago, closer to the event was that this "party" was the victory celebration on the night that the province of Québec elected it's first Parti Québecois government. Lévesque of course, being party leader and hence, new provincial premier. (Like a governor in the States.)

The story I read at the time, in fact now that I recall, this story was told by Mordecai Richler, the famous Montréal author, anyway, the story was that Lévesque was drunk and arrested by the first cop on the scene. He had run over another drunk who was laying in the street at the time as he pulled away from the curb.

When the powers in the police department found out what was going on and received their marching orders from their political bosses, charges were dropped, Lévesque was off scott free on whatever charges he faced and sadly, the arresting officer quit the police force.

Richler, always the wag, said that the police on the scene took one look at the situation and promptly arrested the corpse.

At any rate Bryant is clearly getting a press fluffing. He's a Liberal star, I'm told.

Note: The woman Bryant was with, Susan Abramovich, the blonde, is his wife. I saw another picture of her as a brunette, with Bryant and their children. Gamma MO probably saw the same picture.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:26 PM
reply to post by TrainDispatcher

Not funny.

I take it you are on the former attorney general's side...

Sick people everywhere you look...

[edit on 1-9-2009 by loam]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:35 PM
If credentials count, then Bryant is an all star. Here is an excerpt from his Wikipedia write up.

Bryant was raised in the Greater Victoria area of British Columbia, where his father Ray was mayor of Esquimalt from 1966 to 1969.[2] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 1988, and a Master's Degree from the same institution in 1989. He graduated as in 1992 from Osgoode Hall Law School with an LL.B. and was the gold medalist of his year. He then earned an LL.M. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1994. Bryant is a Fulbright Fellow. He clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1992-93, and was later a lawyer at the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City, as well as lecturing in law at King's College at the University of London in England, and practicing litigation at McCarthy Tétrault. In 1997, he became an adjunct professor in international law at the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Just an opinion, but I think this case is going to be very revelatory of the relationship between power and the administration of justice in Ontario.

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 08:35 PM
I've been trying to get some insight into the legal aspects of this case and I came across an article that makes me wonder if using your car to kill someone is even a crime in Canada, as long as it was done inadvertently.

The family was supported in their quest by Gord Penner of Families Against Crime and Trauma, who recalled other high-profile deaths of innocent people from car accidents.

"We really feel people aren't getting the message that you can't go out and kill people with a vehicle," he said.

"There is no justice for the families in cases like this and it's about time they started to get it. We don't have vehicular homicide. It's only in the U.S. and we would like a charge of murder, where applicable."

Life is certainly not held by the legal authorities to be as precious here in Canada as it is in the US. We pride ouselves on our sober approach to civil litigation and the modest awards given to the victims of all sorts of outrages. We are not so crass as Americans. We're just dumb, dumb, dumb and so so happy to take a penny on the pound. It's the Canadian way.

[edit on 1-9-2009 by ipsedixit]

posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 11:35 PM

Originally posted by ipsedixit
I've been trying to get some insight into the legal aspects of this case and I came across an article that makes me wonder if using your car to kill someone is even a crime in Canada, as long as it was done inadvertently.

Traffic legalities are by province. Ontario has had vehicular manslaughter on the books since I took my driving test in the 80s - but there were loopholes in that law.

Bryant closed those loopholes in 2007 - if speed, stunt driving, or general disregard for traffic laws enter into the equation, then it automatically becomes the dual charge of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Given that he's been charged with these two, I'm fairly certain the cops have to send his car(s) to the crusher immediately. Could be mistaken about that, though.

From the sound of things, he hit the cyclist and tried to drive off (hit and run) - but the guy on the bike held on and tried to get him to stop. Then he decided to scrape him off the car using a lamppost and a mailbox. As a lawmaker - he deserves the absolute maximum sentence. I lost faith in Canada's legal system a decade ago, though. He'll probably be out in 3. He'll claim self defense or something, and his legal team will drag the case on for years while he walks free.

As for the media bias - the (usually liberal) star did a good job of profiling both - and the vast majority of the article focused on the victim, his family and friends. (I'd link to the story, but I can't connect to the star right now for some reason.)

This will be a very interesting one to watch.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 06:56 AM
Here is a link to the way the Toronto Star is reporting the story this morning.

The story starts like this:

Less than an hour before his path would fatally cross that of former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant, Darcy Allan Sheppard was sitting in the back of a police cruiser.

Sheppard had been trying to get into an apartment on George St., south of Allan Gardens. Until a week before, he had lived there with his girlfriend, Misty. Then he had rented a place in the west end.

On Monday night, he showed up at the rundown building near Jarvis and Gerrard Sts. After eight days of sobriety, he had been drinking. Police said they were called. When officers arrived shortly after 9 p.m., they told Sheppard, 33, to leave and not come back.

"He had a relapse," said Jordana Maxwell, who also lives at the apartment. "He came to us, because we're his family. I said, 'Let him come back upstairs.' The officer said, 'No, he needs to go home.' I said, 'He can't make it home, he's intoxicated. He cannot ride a bike.' We begged them. They said, 'He will not go back upstairs.' And they put him on the road."

Later the issue of Bryant's sobriety is touched upon.

By yesterday afternoon, police had decided to charge Bryant with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. He is to appear in court Oct. 19.

"Based on the circumstances and the evidence we have so far, it was the appropriate charge. We have witnesses saying we have a male attached to a door. And we have a vehicle with a male hanging on to the driver's side," Lalla said. "Eyewitnesses report he was driving along the curb. The car doesn't appear to be out of control."

Police said there was no indication Bryant was intoxicated.

I wonder if they actually had Bryant do a breathalizer test. They don't say so explicitly. I suspect that they did not do the test.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 07:12 AM
reply to post by ipsedixit

I'm pretty sure there was no test done on him.

There was also no charge of leaving the scene, and no bail hearing, and from what I gather he won't have his license suspended despite the charges.

But the police deny giving him special treatment...

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 07:23 AM
reply to post by vox2442

Maybe they would have given him the breathalyzer test if witnesses had told them the car was weaving as it drove along the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street. That fact, the weaving, would have clinched it for the test. All of the other stuff just indicates . . . what?

Ironically, the fact that he is assumed to have been sober at the time of the incident might make things worse for him. I'm surprised he wasn't required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 08:11 AM
The PR spin has started. Now they are trying to smear the victim, deflect the emotion away from Bryant:

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