Family members of a cyclist who was killed in Richmond last year are outraged after learning the driver who allegedly ran him down won’t face serious charges.
“I was very confident that he would be criminally charged,” said Lianne Dean, whose son was six cyclists who were struck head-on while riding on River Road last November.
Thirty-three-year-old Brad Dean died, while two other riders were seriously injured.
Lianne Dean said investigators told her criminal charges were recommended to Crown.
But Crown prosecutors charged Michael Wing Sing Fan — who was allegedly behind the wheel — with driving without care and attention, a non-criminal charge under the Motor Vehicle Act.
“What she said was that it would be easier to get a conviction under the Motor Vehicle Act than it would be under the criminal code. That is unbelievable to me,” said Dean.
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Brad’s father Tom echoed his wife’s disappointment.
“It can’t always be about a win and a lose situation, and maybe this was a tough case to try, but they should have tried,” he said. “Without any attempt and simply sweeping these kinds of situations under the rug it’s not going to get better.”
But criminal defence lawyer Kyla Lee said in cases like this, it can be hard to successfully charge someone under the criminal code.
“It’s really difficult for the Crown to prove dangerous driving cases because the standard for dangerous driving — a criminal charge for bad driving — is that the driving has to be a marked departure from the standard exercised by a reasonably prudent driver.”
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Lee said any behaviour that doesn’t reach that threshold can’t be considered dangerous driving in court.
“It essentially translates to really bad, intentionally bad driving. Something that somebody has to choose to do, that’s illegal and that they ought to know is dangerous in the circumstances, and a normal driver wouldn’t do.”
If convicted, Fan could face a maximum penalty of $2,000, while the court may also impose a driving ban.
Lee adds she’s never heard of anyone going to jail for driving without care.