The former attorney general, Michael Bryant, who recently stepped down as MPP for St. Paul’s to take an appointment with the City of Toronto, was involved in a deadly incident with a bicyclist on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto. The altercation on Monday night ended after the 33-year-old cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, sustained severe injuries—he died later at the hospital.
There were dozens of eyewitnesses and several surveillance cameras recorded the incident so the courts should be able to apportion fault without speculation on my part.
It would seem clear, however, that neither man is blameless. The cyclist, who had apparently been drinking, set in motion a series of events that were a consequence of his questionable behaviour. No one should have to pay with his life for thoughtless behavior, but it happens all the time. If you chase a car down and grab onto it while it’s moving, odds are you are going to get hurt, and you have only yourself to blame.
As for the driver, Mr. Bryant, what could have possessed him to continue to drive with someone hanging onto his car? Surely he should have stopped the car. This did not happen late at night on a lonely stretch of road when he might have feared for his and his wife’s safety; it occurred at around 9:45 p.m. in the vicinity of Bloor and Bay Streets within sight of dozens of pedestrians and construction workers laying pipe nearby. At best, this would seem to be poor judgment exercised by Mr. Bryant—fatally poor judgment—and he’ll have to face the consequences in court.
Premier Dalton McGuinty will now have to decide on how best to handle the prosecution of Bryant who as recently as 2007 oversaw the province’s justice system. Bryant apparently has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, but was released without a bail hearing. He is to appear in court Oct. 19.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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