A Thetford Mines motorist accused of criminal negligence causing the death of a pedestrian in January 2017, was acquitted on Friday.
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The Crown’s attempt to establish by circumstantial evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Miguel Bolduc, 22, was using his cell phone at the time of the impact therefore failed.
The judge of the Court of Quebec, Marie-Claude Gilbert, instead accredited the evidence of the defense, mentioning that the facts allowed “the inference of the version of the accused”, that is that he turned up the volume of the radio when the accident occurred.
On January 21, 2017, around 9 p.m., Miguel Bolduc was driving eastbound on route 112 in Thetford Mines. At the traffic light in Robertsonville (a part of town), he receives and sends photos and messages with the Snapchat app, as he admitted last November during his testimony at his trial.
He also said he sent the last “snap” as the light turned green and his vehicle was moving forward. Then he put his phone down in the passenger seat. It was 9:08 p.m. at the time.
The motorist continued on his way and fatally collided with Danick Lachance, 19, a few minutes later. 911 was called almost immediately after the swerve, by passers-by, at 9:11 p.m.
A reconstructionist expert from the Sûreté du Québec established, during the trial, that Miguel Bolduc’s vehicle had “gradually” deviated from its trajectory over a few tens of meters, suggesting the thesis of inattention.
Announcing her verdict at the Thetford Mines courthouse on Friday, Judge Gilbert noted that there are 3.9 km between the Robertsonville traffic light and the place where Danick Lachance was struck. She also pointed out that between the time of the impact (9:11 p.m.) and that of the last cell phone use (9:08 p.m.), precisely three minutes elapsed.
So, 3.9 km to go and three minutes separate the use of the cell phone and the moment of the impact of the car with the young Lachance.
The judge called the scaffolding of the Crown’s factual fabric “theory”, saying that “because of space-time, the [de causalité] between cell phone use and the collision is broken ”.