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Judge decides trial to continue

A Court of Queen’s Bench justice has ruled that there is enough evidence to continue a trial involving a man charged with impaired driving causing death after his friend was killed in December 2006.

Defence lawyer Bob Sawers of Calgary called for dismissal of the charge against Preston Clifford Hanson, 26.

His friend Nathan Michael Medwid, 19, died after being ejected from his car after it rolled four times on Hwy 20, about five km north of Sylvan Lake early on Dec. 5, 2006.

Sawers argued the Crown’s case was entirely circumstantial on whether Hanson was the driver of the vehicle that night.

Justice Monica Bast said on Thursday that while there was no direct evidence or physical evidence on who the driver was, there was still enough background evidence in regard to this.

The men went to a Red Deer bar on the night of Dec. 4, 2006, court has heard.

Medwid left the bar at one point and was sleeping in the front of the car with it running.

But no one saw who had climbed into the car to drive away, Bast said.

Hanson said a woman he met that night was driving them home but took off and he didn’t know where she was, Bast said.

He went in out and consciousness before the ambulance arrived, but then was unconscious, he claimed.

The car was owned by Medwid, said Bast.

Bast said it was later revealed during police investigation that Hanson lied about the woman because he wanted to protect himself and his friend and at the time he didn’t know that this friend had died.

But there was also information that Hanson was found with the car key in his pocket. He turned off the car after the collision.

Defence witness Jessica Dawn Lee, who was married to Hanson’s brother Brian at the time of the crash, testified that she told the young men when they were heading out that night to give them a call if they had been drinking and needed a ride home.

“They knew someone would come and get them,” said Lee, 28, of Calgary.

The trial was to resume today at 10 a.m., at which time the defence may or may not call more evidence. Final arguments from the Crown and defence would be held on Tuesday.

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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