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Defence wants charges stayed in fatal collision

By MEGAN GILLIS, Postmedia Network

OTTAWA – Dr. Christy Natsis' defence is asking a judge to stay charges she killed Bryan Casey driving drunk arguing "deliberate destruction of evidence" by an OPP collision investigator.

Michael Edelson contends Const. Shawn Kelly got rid of a draft of his report on the head-on crash after it was revised by another officer.

The charges should be stayed -- or Kelly's evidence tossed out -- because Natsis can't fully challenge his evidence suggesting she caused the fatal collision, the defence argued.

Edelson made the bid after Kelly testified Casey's Dodge pickup braked and slowed while Natsis' Ford SUV did neither.

In the two seconds before the collision, Casey applied the brakes and went from 80 km/h to 34 km/h.

Natsis was going between 85 km/h and 87 km/h and didn't brake in the five seconds before the crash on Hwy. 17 near Arnprior almost two years ago.

"Five seconds prior to the crash, the actual collision, the Ford Expedition had not applied its brakes and stayed at that consistent speed," Kelly said, pointing to data from the Ford's restraint control module and Dodge's airbag control module.

Kelly testified pavement gouges, debris and vehicle damage show that when the crash happened Natsis' westbound SUV was in Casey's eastbound lane as his truck straddled his fog line.

Kelly was told not to refer to his conclusion that the cause of the crash was her "action, inaction and/or condition."

That will be up to Judge Neil Kozloff to decide.

It will also be up to Kozloff to decide on the defence bid.

A prosecutor told the court during the trial's first phase last fall that drafts of Kelly's report weren't disclosed to the defence because they never existed.

However, Kelly testified he gave a draft to another collision investigator, made changes and corrections, then got rid of the draft.

Not being able to see those changes violates Natsis' right to defend herself and get a fair trial, the defence contended.

A stay would end the prosecution while losing Kelly's evidence would be another blow to the Crown.

Earlier this week, Kozloff found Natsis' right to counsel was violated by another OPP officer. He threw out breath samples that showed she had 2 1/2 times the legal limit of alcohol in her blood after the crash.

megan.gillis@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasun_megan


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