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Michael Bryant's killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard

How Michael Bryant killed Darcy Allan Sheppard & how the justice system was manipulated to set him free
Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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1 On August 31, 2009 former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant killed Toronto bike messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard in a road rage attack
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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2 Michael Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death
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3 Michael Bryant’s actions were captured on surveillance video and witnessed by several people, and subject to forensic evidence
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4 Surveillance video of Michael Bryant;s attack on Darcy Allan Sheppard
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5 Noted defence attorney Richard Peck was brought in as special prosecutor because Bryant as attorney general had been most prosecutors boss
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8 One month before he killed Darcy Allan Sheppard in a road rage attack, Michael Bryant told the Toronto Star “road rage is back in my life”
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9 In his memoir “28 Seconds” Bryant admitted that the months leading up to the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard were a difficult time for him
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10 Bryant:“I was usually in the dog house that summer. Somehow I wasn’t engaged with the same human race of which my wife was a member.”
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12 Bryant:“I was going through the pressure of a career change a significant reorientation maybe even something of a small mid-life crisis.”
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13 Prosecutor Richard Peck characterized the Bryants’ “celebration” of their 12th wedding anniversary as a special evening for the couple
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14 Marie Henein: "the mood was warm, it was nostalgic, it was reminiscing, like many couples do over their years together”
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15 Although it was their anniversary Bryant admitted that the night of August 31 was filled with tension, noting that he and his wife argued
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16 Bryant:“We talked about our marriage – part debate, part monologue, part argument. Our marriage is in trouble.”
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17 Bryant was also unhappy with the anniversary gift he got for his wife. His wife seemed unimpressed
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18 In a last-ditch attempt to salvage the night Bryant raced to Bay and Bloor to buy his wife the anniversary present that she really wanted
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20 Bryant said Sheppard was doing figure 8’s on his bike, blocking the lane with pylons and spitting on a windshield
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21 No one else saw any of this. No witnesses and no surveillance camera caught any of the acts Bryant claimed to have witnessed
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22 Video shows Sheppard riding past Bryant and stopping his bike in front on Bryant’s convertible Saab and putting himself in harm’s way
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23 Michael Bryant claimed that he thought Sheppard took a swing at him as Sheppard passed his car.
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24 Richard Peck acknowledged: “The video does not confirm that Mr. Sheppard did take a swing.”
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25 In other words Peck said there is no swing on the video
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26 The Police reconstruction report of the incident noted: “Cyclist drove down center of roadway past Saab with hands on handlebars”
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27 Bryant claimed that Sheppard stopped his bike facing toward Bryant “His front wheel was within a couple of feet of the Saab front bumper”
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28 Eyewitnesses stated Sheppard’s bike was facing away from Bryant’s car Video and forensic prove Bryant car hit the back of Sheppard’s bike
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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29 Only two witnesses saw what happened before Sheppard was hit and knocked on to the hood of Michael Bryant’s car. Both made 911 calls
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30 Both witnesses were questioned by the police on video within hours of Darcy Allan Sheppard’s death.
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31 The statements by these two witnesses match the surveillance video of the events that night.
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33 BRYANT struck SHEPPARD not once, but twice from a stopped position on Bloor Street West east of the pedestrian signalized intersection
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34 Richard Peck never mentioned these two eyewitnesses in court. Nor did he mention the findings of police reconstruction report
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35 The only witnesses Peck mentioned were those who only saw what happened after Sheppard got up off the ground
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36 Seven or eight months later Michael Bryant would claim his car stalled and restarting it caused his car hit Sheppard
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38 Bryant’s lawyer Marie Henein hired a discredited video expert, Grant Fredericks to analyze the surveillance videos
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37 Michael Bryant made no claim of his car stalling in his 911 call. He said “I slammed on the brakes and I tried to get away”
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39 Richard Peck relied on Fredericks’ analysis to make Bryant’s case
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40 Peck: “The video shows changes in the luminosity of the Saab's headlights on a number of occasions.”
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41 Peck: “The expert evidence confirms that ONE explanation for this is that the headlights dimmed”
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42 Peck: “as a result of the vehicle stalling and then being restarted”
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43 Grant Fredericks has been accused of bias and whitewashing video evidence with his analysis
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44 US Justice Dept basically said Frederick has a long record of bias in favor of embattled police officers and police departments,
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45 and that he [Fredericks] regularly shapes his expert testimony accordingly
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47 Fredericks analyzed video in Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski in favour of the police at the Braidwood Inquiry
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48 Two other experts dismissed Fredericks’ flawed methodology and analysis
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49 Justice Braidwood ruled he could not rely on Fredericks’ analysis because his verification methodology was flawed
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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50 Bryant left a 22 foot scrape in the road from Sheppard’s bike. In court Peck dismissed these moments as “a flash.”
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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52 “You are all witnesses!” were very likely Darcy Allan Sheppard’s last words
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54 The only follow up interviews Peck and Sandler conducted were with defence witnesses
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55 Police reconstruction report: “Mr. BRYANT’s final actions in the third collision sequence led to the death of Mr. SHEPPARD
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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56 BRYANT’s failure to stop the Saab when Mr. SHEPPARD deliberately hung on to the side of the Saab, and driving his vehicle on the opposite
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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57 side of the road in an attempt to dislodge Mr. SHEPPARD from his vehicle gave the appearance of a deliberate act according to witnesses.”
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58 Construction workers witnessed Bryant knock Sheppard off car by hitting a fire hydrant then a tree and a mail box
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59 One construction worker told a TV reporter, “Oh yeah! He [Michael Bryant] meant to knock him off”
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60 Another construction worker told TV reporter “all I saw was the car speeding up the wrong side with the injured man on the driver’s side
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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61 of the car holding on as tight as he could. And then the driver of the car pushing up against the curb trying to knock him off
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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62 on the poles as he went down the opposite side of the road.”
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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64 and he [Michael Bryant] sounded very very angry, kind of road rage but honestly someone that was kind of, I don’t think all there.”
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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65 The construction worker also said “he [Sheppard] was definitely holding on for dear life”
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66 After Michael Bryant drove to the Hyatt Hotel, in what he described as a state of fear, he did not call 911 right away.
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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67 Bryant waited at the Hyatt Hotel for three minutes before he called 911!
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68 Peck: “Mr. Bryant used his wife’s cell phone to call 911. This occurred approximately three minutes after he arrived.”
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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71 Michael Bryant’s ex-wife Susan Abramovitch had her cell phone with her. She never called 911 at any time during the incident
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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74 Shortly after Navigator was hired stories appeared that Sheppard may have grabbed the steering wheel of the car and caused his own death
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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75 The police reconstruction report confirmed that Darcy Allan Sheppard did not touch nor affect the steering wheel of Bryant’s Saab.
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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76 Police recon report: “There was no physical evidence, or independent witness statements suggesting Mr. SHEPPARD affected the steering
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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77 of the Saab, or anything to suggest he physically attacked Mr. BRYANT.”
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78 Sheppard was bleeding from the hands. Police found his blood on some places in the car where he touched but nowhere near steering wheel
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79 Police reconstruction report: “Blood was not located on the steering wheel, passenger side or on the tires of the vehicle”
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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86 Due to the heavy publicity of the case many people called Henein to say they had or witnessed an altercation with a cyclist
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87 Peck introduced the accounts of these witnesses ”to show the probability that the deceased was the aggressor”
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88 For good reason, courts are very apprehensive in allowing these types of witnesses to testify.
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89 Bryant acknowledged the danger of accepting as truth the accounts of people who saw a picture in the media from a very prominent case
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90 Bryant:“Some people might be sharing their delusional fantasies, others their tales of woe that involved a cyclist,
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91 Bryant: but not necessarily the cyclist Darcy Sheppard
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92 Police are very familiar with this phenomenon, wherein callers offer up information that turns out to be useless to their investigation”
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93 Accounts of these witnesses range from 3 or 4 years prior (the witness could not remember which year) to the same night
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94 The witness from the same night said she was not even absolutely sure it was Sheppard
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95 How did these witnesses identify Darcy Allan Sheppard?
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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97 According to Bryant, Henein interviewed these witnesses herself
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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98 Her photo identification technique was to show the witnesses the exact same single photo they saw in the media and have them identify it
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99 Normally the admissibility of these witnesses would be challenged one by one by the Crown in a voir dire hearing
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100 The likelihood of a judge allowing them to testify would be quite low,
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101 as the unreliability of witness identification is the most common cause of wrongful convictions
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102 Marie Henein put forward this argument herself in R. v. Miaponoose, 1996.
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108 Henein: “Permitting a witness to see a single photograph of a suspected person or of a prisoner, after arrest and before scrutiny”
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109 Henein: “can have no other effect, in my opinion, than one of prejudice to such a person”
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110 Richard Peck, the prosecutor accepted the identification of Sheppard by these witnesses without challenege
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Mess Media 29 Sep 16
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112 Peck and Sandler were Criminal Defence Attorneys with deep ties to the various groups supporting the profession
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113 In his memoir, “28 Seconds” book Michael Bryant praised the criminal defence bar.
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114 Bryant:“But I learned something about the criminal defence bar in Toronto.
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115 Bryant: “They stick together and work together to help each other, even if they’re not retained on the case.”
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118 In her essay “Split Seconds Matter”, Marie Henein wrote “I couldn’t get away from the legal community’s oft-expressed sentiment.
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119 Henein: “The truth is that Michael Bryant was well-loved by the legal community.
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120 Henein: Many identified with him, many knew him personally, and many were utterly grief-stricken over his situation.
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121 Henein: The pressure to get the right result was, to be honest, overwhelming at times.
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123“One’s failure will be as notorious as one’s success and the legal community just like the public loves both stories equally voraciously”
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124 On May 25, 2010 Richard Peck withdrew the charges against Michael Bryant claiming there was no reasonable prospect of conviction
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125 After dropping charges against Michael Bryant Richard Peck and Mark Sandler were each awarded the G Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Medal
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126 The G Arthur Martin Award is given out by the Ontario Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA) usually to defence attorneys in Ontario
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127 The Ontario Criminal Lawyers Association (CLA) is “the voice of the criminal defence bar”
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The police reconstruction report and it's conclusions that Michael Bryant was the aggressor
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Jennifer Wells' in depth feature in the Toronto Start about Michael Bryant's killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard
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