Date set for Crown’s appeal of Gentles’ acquittal

Crown prosecutors in B.C. have a trial date for their appeal over the acquittal of a Williams Lake man in the death of Rayel MacDonald.

Crown prosecutors in B.C. have a trial date for their appeal over the acquittal of a Williams Lake man in the death of 20-year-old Rayel MacDonald in April 2012.

The appeal will be heard in Vancouver on Jan. 25, 2016 by a panel of three judges.

Crown is appealing Martin Gentles’ acquittal on impaired driving causing death, driving over .08 causing an accident resulting in death, impaired driving causing bodily harm and driving over .08 causing an accident resulting in bodily harm.

The appeal is on the basis that the trial judge erred in law by failing to apply the correct legal standard for causation and that the trial judge erred by failing to give the correct legal effect to the facts as found by the trial judge, confirmed Gordon S. Comer, legal counsel with the Criminal Justice Branch.

In his acquittal of Gentles in February 2015, BC Supreme Court Justice John D. Truscott said on the limited evidence provided prior to the point of the collision he was not able to find that Gentles was guilty of dangerous driving causing death or causing bodily harm beyond any reasonable doubt which is required in criminal law.

He did rule beyond a reasonable doubt that Gentles was impaired by alcohol as he drove down Carson Drive toward the collision, but said the law required him to find that it was the effect of his impairment on Gentles’ driving that caused death and bodily harm.

Gentles was also found guilty of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

He received an eight-month conditional sentence, one-year probation, a one-year driving prohibition and a $1,500 fine.

On Wednesday, Rayel’s mother Andrea MacDonald said the family would not be attending the appeal in Vancouver.

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