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Officer testifies he found pills, cannabis in car of accused in Brampton crash that left 4 dead

Click to play video: 'Ciasullo family frustrated as Robertson trial continues'
Ciasullo family frustrated as Robertson trial continues
WATCH ABOVE: The family of Karolina Ciasullo and her children are frustrated they are being dragged through a trial despite a guilty plea. As Catherine McDonald reports, Brady Robertson has pleaded not guilty to impaired driving though he admits he was driving dangerously on the day of the deadly crash – Jul 13, 2021

On day two of the judge-alone trial for 21-year-old Brady Robertson, the court heard from a Peel Regional Police officer who testified about the day Robertson was arrested in hospital and how drugs were found in Robertson’s Infiniti G35, which caught on fire after the multi-vehicle collision that killed a Caledon teacher and her three young children.

Staff Sgt. Gary Carty, who was the major case manager on the investigation, told Justice Sandra Caponecchia that he arrived at the crash site at the corner of Countryside Drive and Torbram Road around 1:55 p.m. on June 18, 2020, about 90 minutes after the collision.

He recalled how he noticed four vehicles were involved but the two that sustained the most damage were a white Volkswagen Atlas and a blue Infiniti. The Atlas had collided with a pole and the light standard had fallen down. The Infiniti had caught on fire and two other vehicles had been struck.

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Carty said he learned that the driver of the Infiniti had been pulled out of the car as it was on fire and had suffered serious leg injuries. He also learned that three children and a mother were deceased.

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The Atlas and the Infiniti were seized as evidence and Carty said on June 24, 2020, the car was taken to a police garage from an impound lot where he carried out an inventory search on Robertson’s vehicle.

Carty testified he opened the glove box and found four pills, a baggie with three leafy balls believed to be cannabis, and a tin that was marked “Hookamania Indica.”

According to the agreed statement of facts, one of the pills was tested and found to be fentanyl and the leafy balls were determined to be 8.5 grams of cannabis.

Carty also explained that on June 24, officers went to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto where Robertson was being treated to arrest him, but Robertson was not willing to speak.

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Robertson was originally placed into custody for four counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing the deaths of Karolina Ciasullo and her three daughters, six-year-old Klara, three-year-old Lilianna and one-year-old Mila.

He was later charged with four counts of impaired operation by drugs causing death and one count of dangerous operation in relation to a collision in Caledon on June 16, 2020, in which bystanders saw a light-skinned driver in a blue Infiniti passed out behind the wheel of the car before slowly rolling into a flower planter. Bystanders tried to stop the driver, but he awoke, put the car into reverse and suddenly took off.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Craig Bottomley asked Carty about what else he found in the glove box on the day of the inventory search on the Infiniti but Carty said he could not remember.

Bottomley suggested the car had been involved in a fire and wondered why no paperwork had been found.

“If I didn’t write it down, it probably wasn’t there,” Carty said.

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Carty also told Bottomley that on June 20, 2020, Peel Regional Police Insp. Peter Danos sent officers to the hospital to arrest Robertson but Carty intervened.

He said Danos received information from a third party that Robertson was preparing to leave the hospital and take his IV out, but Carty found out the accused “wasn’t going anywhere.”

Carty testified he didn’t think they had the grounds to make the arrest and interview the driver in a logical fashion and still did not know what his driving record was.

Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous operation causing death on day one of the trial, but not guilty to four counts of impaired operation by drugs causing death and not guilty to the dangerous driving count in relation to the Caledon collision. The trial is ongoing and is planned to occur in three stages.

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The court heard that in November, the defence will be mounting a possible constitutional challenge for the legal limit to THC. The legal limit is five nanograms per millilitre of blood. According to the agreed statement of facts, Robertson had 40 nanograms per millilitre of blood (plus or minus three nanograms). He also had a sedative called flubromazolam and fentanyl in his blood.

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A sentencing hearing is also scheduled for December. Robertson has been in custody since his arrest on June 24, 2020 after previously being denied bail. The maximum sentence for dangerous operation causing death is life in prison.

Michael Ciasullo, Karolina’s widower and the father to the three children killed, was not in court on Tuesday. His sister, Connie Ciasullo, told Global News that it’s too much for her brother to come and listen and sit in the same room as the man who admitted to killing his family.

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“We never want anyone to go through this again. Just think before you get into a car inebriated or high,” Connie said, describing how the family has been ruined by what happened.

Anna Martin, Karolina Ciasullo’s sister and the aunt of the girls who took portraits of her sister’s family over the years, said she has not been able to pick up her camera since the crash.

Martin said she is frustrated that Robertson pleaded guilty to dangerous operation causing the death of Karolina and her children, but not guilty to impairment by drugs.

“You can’t describe the feeling of losing a sister so close to you — your best friend and all your nieces — and to see them taken away by someone so irresponsible and he shows zero remorse,” she said, choking back tears.

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