New trial for man accused in double-fatal collision set for later this month

Dangerous driving causing death trial did not go ahead in January because of late-arriving evidence

A twice-delayed trial for a Red Deer man charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death will take place later this month.

The trial for Dylan Beauclair, who has also pleaded not guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, was adjourned by a judge as it was about to begin.

Defence lawyer Donna Derie-Gillespie asked for the adjournment because she had received notice from Crown prosecutors of new evidence only hours before her client’s three-day trial was to start in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Being given disclosure so late affects her ability to defend her client and is a breach of his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Derie-Gillespie argued.

This was the second time Beauclair’s trial was delayed at the 11th hour. It was set for last October, but had to be rescheduled because the Crown prosecutor handling the case was ill.

Beauclair was driving when a single-vehicle collision happened about 10 kilometres east of Red Deer on Highway 595 at about 11:30 p.m. on July 1, 2016.

John Dolliver, 18, of Penhold, and Ashleigh Smith, 16, of Springbrook, were thrown from the vehicle and killed. Two other teen girls were injured.

Beauclair, then 18, was charged in October after a lengthy RCMP investigation.

His new trial is expected to run Feb. 21 to 22 in Red Deer.

It was reduced to two days because of difficulties finding three days in the next few weeks, when the defence and a courtroom are available.

Since a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision set a 30-month deadline from charge to trial for cases in higher courts, and 18 months in provincial courts, judges have been pushing Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers to move cases through the system quicker.

In Beauclair’s case, the 30-month deadline is April 5. However, the defence lawyer was already booked during the handful of three-day slots open for trials in the next few months.

Crown prosecutor Alex Simic said two days should be enough for Beauclair’s trial.

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