We noted earlier that there would be No Trial for Attorney General Who Killed Cyclist; now the reactions and comments are beginning to pour in, and the anger is palpable. Even Darcy Sheppard's own father has said that former Attorney General Michael Bryant would have been acquitted, but most are outraged that there is not even going to be a trial.
Annotated film of altercation between Bryant and Sheppard
Special prosecutor Richard Peck listed his reasons in court, as noted in the Star:
Sheppard's blood alcohol level was measured after his death at 1.83 - more than twice the legal limit for driving - and he had a history of altercations with other motorists, Peck said.
The prosecutor outlined six other incidents that came to light after Sheppard's death, including one in which an elderly woman described Sheppard as a "mad man."
Peck said four of the previous incidents happened during the month of Sheppard's death, and showed "an escalating cycle of aggressiveness toward motorists." All of the motorists who came forward were interviewed extensively, he said, and in one case surveillance photos captured the altercation.
Yvonne Bambrick questioned the decision, and in particular the issue of blood alcohol.
"What difference does that make?" she asked. "(Bryant) is in a car, he's got lots of options. "There is always a choice to make and he made the wrong choice in this case and it resulted in a death."
In Now Magazine, Enzo di Matteo questions whether charges should have been dropped in such a high profile case.
Clearly, it is in the public interest, given what we know about the nature of the incident and the fact Bryant is a high profile person of some influence, for justice not only to be done, but to be seen to be done. And that would mean a trial for Bryant before a jury of his peers to let the chips fall where they may.
Even if Bryant were found not guilty, at least the public would have some confidence that the legal test of beyond a reasonable doubt was met followed in court. Now we'll never know.
Peter J. Thompson
In the National Post, the (reasonably sane for a Postie) cyclist and writer Peter Kuitenbrouwer notes that Sheppard is no saint.
The problem with cyclists using Sheppard as their martyr is that, from the available evidence, he is a terrible poster child. Reminds me of John Lennon's classic line from the Beatles song "Revolution," which deflated the extreme left in 1970: "If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow."
Yes, as a cyclist, I, when I was a lot younger, got into my share of shouting matches with motorists. There is an inherent imbalance between the bicycle and the motorcar (frailty vs. might) which can cause a cyclist's righteous blood to boil over. This is no time for cycling activists to fold their tent. Darcy Allan Sheppard died a cyclist, and for this we mourn him. But at the same time we must show that we are willing to do our part to lower the temperature on Toronto's roads.
More on Treehugger:
No Trial for Attorney General Who Killed Cyclist
Former Attorney General in Cyclist/Driver "Altercation"
Toronto Bike Tragedy "The Story None Of Us Can Stop Talking About"
Update on Toronto Cyclist's Death : It Gets Complicated