Charges against Michael Bryant dropped, cyclists’ outrage not so much

Charges against Michael Bryant dropped, cyclists’ outrage not so much

Michael Bryant, free and clear (Image:  

Less than one year ago, former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. This morning, those charges were dropped.

The accusations were made after an August 30 confrontation between Bryant and cyclist Darcy Allen Sheppard.

Summarizes the Star:

Bryant and his wife, Susan Abramovitch, were driving along Bloor St. around 9:30 p.m. on a Monday when they were involved in a minor incident with Sheppard.

Witnesses said the cyclist then chased Bryant and grabbed hold of the driver’s side door of his convertible.

Police had alleged that Bryant took off, crossed into the oncoming lane and mounted the curb, dragging Sheppard between 50 and 100 metres.

The cyclist fell from the vehicle after striking a mailbox and a tree, witnesses said.

Unfortunately named Crown prosecutor Richard Peck, who was brought in from B.C. to mount the case against the former Ontario attorney general to avoid any appearance of impropriety, says that his decision was made after new evidence was brought to light.

The Post notes:

Several witnesses recounted past confrontations with Mr. Sheppard, the court heard.

Toxicology tests on Mr. Sheppard revealed he had a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit the night he died. The cyclist’s blood alcohol level, which was measured after he died, was 0.183.

The new evidence, which included interviews with Mr. Bryant and his wife, led Mr. Peck to conclude that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

The news was received with umbrage by cyclists gathered outside the courthouse (cycling activists are not known as a stoic lot). “I can’t predict how it will be perceived other than sending the message that it’s OK to kill someone with your car,” Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union told the Post. “It’s just as much a weapon as a gun is.”

• Charges against Michael Bryant dropped [Toronto Star]
• Criminal charges against former AG Michael Bryant withdrawn [National Post]
• Charges withdrawn former AG Bryant [CBC]