Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Casey Family Agony Lives On

"In light of the trial judge’s strong findings of bias against the Crown’s main accident reconstruction witness it was unreasonable for him to conclude that he could nonetheless accept the aspects of the evidence bearing on the key question in dispute."
Natsis notice of appeal
The family of Bryan Casey, seen here at left with his wife and three children, is suing the woman accused in the fatal crash that killed Casey. (Submitted photo)
A man returning home from a day of work to his family has the dismal misfortune to be on the highway with his pick-up truck at the very time when an intoxicated woman driving her own vehicle passes the centre line and rams his vehicle, causing morbidly massive injuries leading directly to his death. And when 50-year-old Bryan Casey died in that head-on crash on Highway 17 near Arnprior on Mach 31, 2011, his wife was left bereft, his three children fatherless.

The woman who drove recklessly inebriated was a Pembroke dentist. Her dangerous driving was directly observed by many people who were witnesses at a trial that found her guilty of causing this man's untimely death. They spoke of seeing a heavily intoxicated woman, unsteady on her feet, enter her Ford Expedition van as she exited the Crazy Horse bar in Kanata, backing her vehicle into a parked car, accelerating at high speed onto the nearby highway, swerving and speeding at estimated speeds of 130 km/hr.

Witnesses testified that this dangerous driver almost collided with a concrete wall during the 24-minute drive that ensued before she slammed head-on into the Dodge pickup that Mr. Casey was driving. She was seen to exit her vehicle at the accident site, having difficulty walking, slurring her speech, her face and eyes reflecting her drunken state. She was querulous and self-absorbed in her verbal exchanges with investigating authorities, demanding to be taken to hospital, never once enquiring about the condition of the man she hit.

Her entitled, arrogant behaviour throughout the episode gave ample clue to the type of woman she is, negligent of others' safety, insistent on her own right to special consideration, as though she were the victim, not the perpetrator. Expert testimony given at trial by investigating RCMP officers was challenged by her high-priced lawyers who picked apart the evidence and insisted it be ignored in light of claims that errors had occurred and the officers were biased against this woman.

The sitting justice agreed to set aside her blood-alcohol reading of two and a half times the legal limit, but while acceding to some of the defence charges, did take note of evidence signalling that Mr. Casey who also had a lower but elevated blood-alcohol reading, was driving capably and attempted to evade the vehicle heading directly for him, while Ms. Natsis never attempted to swerve away or brake. The 'black box' recovered from her vehicle also testified to the speed she maintained.

Two weeks earlier Ms. Natsis was sentenced to five years in prison. She has decided to appeal her conviction on the grounds that the judge erred in considering evidence that her lawyers insisted should be discarded as unreliable. Those same lawyers made every effort to de-legitimize testimony given by every witness for the prosecution. Ultimately trial judge Neil Kozloff found the woman guilty as charged and she was convicted.

She has now hired a new set of criminal lawyers known for their expertise in the courtroom, at huge expense. Her trial took 55 sitting days, over a four-year period, unheard of, but for the efforts extended on behalf of a woman able to afford to turn justice on its head. Now she has the expertise of several Toronto lawyers, one of whom is representing the hugely-popular former CBC radio host, Jian Ghomeshi in his sexual assault trial.

This is a woman whose addiction to alcohol coupled with a monumental ego poses an ongoing threat to society. Her previous bail conditions throughout the trial period mandated that she no longer consume alcohol and not go anywhere near a liquor outlet, but a violation of her bail conditions took place when she purchased two bottles of vodka at a downtown Ottawa Liquor Control Board outlet. A violation for which she was sentenced to 40 days in prison.

Now this woman who has put the family of the man she killed in a vehicular homicide through hell for years, is determined that she does not belong in prison, since she has pleaded innocent throughout their ordeal and hers. She and her lawyers have centered their appeal on alleged errors committed by the trial judge. They are asking an appeals court to set aside her impaired and dangerous driving convictions, to find her not guilty, or to order a new trial.

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