WATCH ABOVE: The Crown laid out its case against a 15-year-old driver in the murder trial of Const. Garrett Styles. Angie Seth reports.
TORONTO – The first-degree murder trial in the 2011 death of York Region Const. Garrett Styles continued in a Newmarket courtroom Wednesday.
The accused is a young man, who cannot be identified under the youth criminal justice act, was a 15-year-old minor at the time of the crash that left him paralyzed and killed Const.Styles.
In court, the jury heard from assistant Crown Attorney, Jon Fuller, who told the jury in his opening remarks this was going to be a complicated case with many elements. Fuller said the focus of the trial is not on who did it or how Const. Styles died, but rather focus on the mindset of the accused when he decided to accelerate his vehicle while Const. Styles was still leaning inside the van.
Const. Styles leaves behind a wife and two young children. His wife, Melissa Styles, along with other members of the Styles’ family were in the courtroom Wednesday. All of them appeared somber looking straight ahead or away from the accused.
The Crown alleges almost four years ago on June 28, 2011, 32-year-old Const. Garrett Styles stopped a Dodge Caravan going 50 kilometres over the speed limit on Highway 48 in east Gwillimbury.
The driver was a 15-year-old kid, who had gone out on a joy ride with his friends in his parents car. The Crown told the jury Const. Styles asked for the driver’s information which it is alleged, he gave the officer the wrong name, birth date, and address. Upon checking the information, the officer returned to the van and asked the driver to step out of the vehicle. According to reports, the 15-year-old driver refused.
Const. Styles opened the driver side door and leaned into the car to remove the key from the ignition. The Crown alleges it is at that time the driver hit the gas and drove away dragging the officer some 300 metres. It was at that time, the Crown says the passengers in the Caravan told the driver to stop, but he did not.
The driver lost control and veered off the road, flipping in mid-air, and then landing on top of Const. Styles. Collision reconstruction expert, Const. Gordon Hebert, testified the Caravan was discovered roughly 285 metres from Styles’ cruiser. He also testified the van looked like it had gone airborne more than once.
During testimony today, the jury was shown video of the accident scene and detailed, graphic pictures of the van and where Const. Styles had been pinned under the vehicle. Later in the trial the jury will also hear from the three passengers who were inside the Caravan when the traffic stop took place and during the accident. It is unclear as to whether the accused will take the stand.
The trial continues.