Proving criminal negligence a difficult challenge in impaired case, Winnipeg lawyer says

A Winnipeg defence lawyer says it’ll likely be a tough road ahead for the parents of a woman killed by a drunk driver as they navigate the courts in pursuit of justice.

Jordyn Reimer, 24, was killed two years ago in a Transcona crash, and while the driver, Tyler Goodman, pleaded guilty and is serving a six-year prison sentence, Reimer’s parents are calling for additional charges to be laid.

Specifically, they want a passenger who allegedly gave Goodman the keys to the truck, knowing he was intoxicated, to be charged with criminal negligence causing death.

Lawyer Scott Newman, who does not represent any of the parties in this case, told 680 CJOB’s The Start that offence is one of the hardest to prove under the Criminal Code.

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“It’s more than just negligence — it has to have subjective foresight of bodily harm,” he said.

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“You have to see that the actions you’re doing at the time have a really strong chance of leading to bodily harm and death.”

Click to play video: 'Parents of drunk driving victim seek additional charges laid'

Parents of drunk driving victim seek additional charges laid

Newman said under the law, simply being present when a crime is committed doesn’t make a person liable, and there’s no legal obligation for someone to stop a crime in progress.

Reimer’s parents, Karen and Doug, met with Manitoba justice minister Matt Wiebe on Monday, asking for a review of prosecutors’ original decision not to pursue criminal negligence charges against the passenger, despite what they say was a recommendation from police.

Although Wiebe was unable to give specifics on the case as it’s currently before the courts, he confirmed an appeal had been filed and promised to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to further crack down on drunk driving.

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Newman said he’s not aware of any prosecutions in Canada for criminal negligence causing death involving an impaired driver, due to the low odds of a conviction happening.

“If there’s no reasonable likelihood of conviction, they don’t prosecute,” he said.

“Number one, it’s a waste of court resources, police resources and others, … and number two, prosecutions take a real toll on the people who are charged. It’s exhausting, it costs money, and you’re tarred and feathered with allegations.

“Even if the charges get dropped, you’re still stuck with them because people in the community may believe that you’re guilty.”

Click to play video: 'More than 100 victim impact statements heard in Winnipeg court on death of Jordyn Reimer'

More than 100 victim impact statements heard in Winnipeg court on death of Jordyn Reimer

— with files from Daisy Woelk and Katherine Dornian

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