A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case of a man charged with dangerous driving causing death after realizing he might have a conflict of interest involving a defence witness.
Kyle Matthew Colthurst is facing several charges following a two-vehicle crash that claimed the life of 20-year-old Katie Robson in April 2014.
Superior Court Justice George King called a mistrial Tuesday after realizing that when he was a lawyer, he acted against a former Windsor police officer that will be called as a defence witness.
“The accused is entitled to a trial that is not only fair and just but has the appearance of being fair and just,” said King.
Colthurst, 31, is charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, refusing to provide a breath sample, failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm and failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday.
In a separate trial, Calvin Joseph Crosby, 22, is facing charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and drunk driving. His trial is scheduled to begin in March.
Crosby was the driver of a Chevy Blazer that flipped several times before landing on its roof in the northbound lanes of Lauzon Road near Tranby Avenue. The crash occurred April 4, 2014 around 2:50 a.m. Robson, a 20-year-old St. Clair College student, was pronounced dead at hospital. Leah Garrod, 19, was injured. Both women were passengers in the SUV Crosby was driving.
In an interview after the crash, Garrod said the Chevy Blazer flipped after being rammed from behind by another car.
Court heard Tuesday that Colthurst, the driver of the other car, told a police officer his vehicle had been side-swiped.
The trial began Tuesday morning. But defence lawyer Brian Dube learned over the lunch break there could be an issue involving one of his witnesses, former police officer Wally Martin.
Martin was the subject of a four-year legal dispute with the Windsor Police Service for taking bogus sick leave while feigning back pain. Martin resigned in 2010 after being found guilty of deceit and neglect of duty in a Police Act hearing in 2008. King acted against Martin on behalf of the Windsor Police Service.
Dube plans to call Martin — who started a business helping people fight traffic tickets after being forced out of the police service — as an expert witness.
After taking much of the afternoon to consider the issue Tuesday, King emerged from the judge’s quarters to say he previously represented the Windsor Police Service in a “significant and adversarial role” against Martin.
King called a mistrial stating that while he didn’t believe he’d have a problem being impartial, it might not appear that way to others. Trials should be handled “fairly and justly for all,” he said. King ordered everyone to return to court Wednesday morning to set a new date to start the trial over with a new judge.
Source: Windsor Star