Charges dropped in Staines hit-and-run case
A British Columbia court has dropped the charges against a James High, the man accused in a hit-and-run driving case that left a Port Coquitlam man dead in February 2006.
But no reasons have been given as to why Crown Counsel in the B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster elected to stay the charges against High.
He was alleged to have been the driver of a truck that killed 21-year-old Robert Staines. High was also alleged to have tried to cover his tracks with the help of his mother, Allyne Fitzgerald .
Staines' body was found by a person out for an early morning walk in Coquitlam.
Fitzgerald, who allegedly helped her son hide the vehicle that he was driving at the time of the incident, is still facing charges and is due back in court in October.
The discovery of Staines's body triggered a lengthy investigation that led to Coquitlam RCMP arresting High and Fitzgerald.
A writ that was subsequently filed by the Staines family. It alleges that Robert was struck in the 800 block of Coquitlam's Brunette Avenue by a vehicle owned and operated at the time by High, a financial advisor.
The family alleged that in the hours or days following the crash, High, Fitzgerald and ABC Autobody Ltd. washed the vehicle to remove evidence; High and Fitzgerald went to the autobody shop to fix the vehicle, paid for repairs in cash and arranged for the minimization or elimination of repair records on the vehicle in question, and disposed of all parts damaged in the collision.
The civil litigation had been launched before the outcome of criminal proceedings.
High, now 30, was charged with three counts under the Criminal Code: failing to remain at the scene of an accident, attempting to obstruct justice by arranging to conceal and repair a damaged motor vehicle part of a police investigation into a fatal traffic accident, and intent to mislead by arranging to conceal and repair a motor vehicle in that accident to divert suspicion.
Fitzgerald, a New Westminster woman working as a nurse at the time of the alleged hit-and-run, was charged with two counts, including attempting to obstruct justice by concealing or repairing a damaged motor vehicle, and intent to mislead
Stan Lowe, a spokesman for Crown Counsel has confirmed that the charges against High have been dropped.
But he wouldn't say why because the case is still pending against High's mother
Meanwhile, the Staines family was notified of the ruling on Thursday.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington