Fate of Surrey driver in crash that killed teen now rests with Supreme Court justice
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- Crown prosecutor Kelly Johnston spoke for about 30 minutes for his closing arguments before turning the decision over to the Supreme Court justice for a decision.
Family and friends of 17-year-old Travis Selje were in court in New Westminster as the final stage of the trial began.
The accomplished young soccer player and member of the Vancouver Whitecaps' residency program died after his car was hit from behind at 64th Avenue and 176th Street in Surrey on May 3, 2017.
Rituraj Kaur Grewal has pleaded not guilty to three charges, including criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
The Selje family told CTV News they were disappointed the Crown's closing arguments were so short but said nothing is going to bring Travis back.
Thursday during the defence's closing arguments, lawyer Don Muldoon argued Grewal suffered a seizure, which caused the crash. She was later diagnosed with epilepsy.
But Johnston disputed the claims during submissions Friday, saying “the facts in this case show she was driving in an aggressive and unsafe manner for a relatively lengthy time and distance.”
He added she was able to successfully execute driving, passing other vehicles easily on her way.
“We have what appears to be deliberate driving,” said Johnston. “If we say that she was driving in a deliberate manner, we have to conclude that there was a level of conciseness required to go around vehicles.”
Johnston told the court, “The problem we have in this case is that the defence has suggested she was having a seizure. We can’t prove that she wasn’t. That’s the problem.”
The defence was given a chance to reply to Crown’s closing arguments.
“In my submission if the Crown can’t prove that she wasn’t having a seizure, then there must be a reasonable doubt," said Muldon.
Three witnesses testified to seeing Grewal shaking and having convulsions after the crash.
“Is there some possibility that someone could have had a seizure described by witnesses? Of course, but the evidence in this case falls well short that that in fact happened here,” said Johnston.
He added the witness testimony about the appearance Grewal was having a seizure isn’t useful because the court doesn't know their medical backgrounds or history.
Johnston also said there is evidence of a possible attempt to steer and brake, suggesting she may have been aware of her actions.
Madam Justice Jeanne Watchuk questioned Crown on this, saying, “the witness said it could have been just brushing the brake pedal, not necessarily intentionally applying the brakes.”
Johnston said both are “admittedly, if at all, slight.”
Muldoon read testimony given by investigators who said they couldn’t find any evidence of braking or steering.
“It’s crystal clear that there is no braking prior to impact,” he said.
Johnston said there are cases where the defence of having a seizure has been raised, but, “there doesn’t appear to be any clear-cut law explaining that point.”
The Crown cautioned the court saying this decision could open the floodgates and it needs to remain wary “when (a defence) fits so neatly into the explanation if the defence allows for her to have some consciousness of driving yet at the same time be unconscious of it.”
The case is back in court on March 11.