Legal Challenge of THC Limits in Canada’s Driving Laws Hold Brampton Judgment on Fatal Accident

A Brampton judge has ruled that a man who admitted to causing the 2020 accident that killed a schoolteacher and her three young children had more than the legal limit for THC in his blood on the day of the tragedy – but the judge is not convinced about the fact that drugs significantly affected his driving.

Toxicological results revealed that Brady Robertson’s drug concentration in the blood was 40 nanograms of THC per milliliter (eight times the legal limit) approximately 45 minutes after the fatal crash on June 18 that killed Karolina Ciasullo, 37, and her three daughters, six-year-olds. Klara, three-year-old Lilanna and one-year-old Mila. The legal limit is five nanograms per milliliter of blood.

“The toxicological evidence proves that Mr. Robertson ingested an unknown amount of cannabis between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on the morning of June 18, 2020,” Ontario District Court Judge Sandra Caponecchia wrote. “Depending on the timing, the amount and his tolerance level, he may or may not have experienced the degrading effects of THC when he caused the collision around 12:15 p.m.”

At the start of the case this summer, Robertson, 21, pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous driving that caused the death, and not guilty to four counts of impaired drug use that caused the death. Judge Caponecchia on Tuesday sentenced Robertson provisionally convicted of the four counts of reduced driving that caused the death, but said those sentences are now “subject to the outcome of the constitutional challenge” as Robertson’s lawyers argue in front of her, trying to overturn the THC limit. in Canada’s Weakened Driving Act.

Proving whether Robertson was weakened by drugs and to what extent, at the time of the June 18 crash, now depends on the outcome of the constitutional challenge. Robertson’s defense team argues that the law on drug-driving should be repealed, questioning whether anyone exceeding five millimeters can be considered reduced.

Judge Caponecchia said she was satisfied via blood test that Robertson had an “unknown amount” of THC and a sedative called flubromazolam in her blood during the fatal accident, but ruled out the presence of fentanyl even though a fentanyl pill was found together. with cannabis in a baggie in the car.

As she handed down her verdict on Tuesday, Caponecchia said she was not convinced that “the Crown has proven that both or one of the drugs in his blood impaired Mr. Robertson’s ability to drive to any degree.”

Robertson’s lawyers aim to use testimonies from experts such as Dr. Jack Uetrecht, a clinical pharmacologist from the University of Toronto to advance their argument that the concentration of THC in a person’s blood samples after a crash is an inadequate means of determining whether they were impaired or not. of substances at the time of the crash. Expert witnesses have also testified that chronic cannabis users can have THC in their blood for up to a week or more.

Courts have already heard how first aiders found a carnage site at the crash site on the corner of Countryside Drive and Torbram Road on June 18 afternoon, when the Volkswagen Atlas powered by Ciasullo collided with a pole and the Infiniti powered by Robertson was set on fire after smashing into the Atlas.

But during a court hearing on Tuesday, Caponecchia Robertson, now 21, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving in connection with incidents that occurred two days before the fatal accident, saying he was the driver of the same blue Infiniti on the 16th. June 2020, when witnesses observed the car mount the curb in front of a coffee shop on the corner of Kennedy Road and Dougall Avenue in Caledon, where the car drove into a planter and two trash cans.

Robertson was driving away at high speed when he was spotted minutes later by police in Caledon, less than six miles away. The officer had to interrupt the chase, “because his speed was dangerous to the public,” Caponecchia said during the trial alone with the judge.

“In this case, I am satisfied that the similarities between the driving incidents, which took place at intervals of only two days (June 16 and 18), cannot reasonably be chalked up to coincidences,” she said of the driving, which had “striking similarities. , “Including speeding in the same car and geographic area in Caledon.” It would be a violation of common sense to suggest that someone other than Mr. Robertson also happens to be using his newly acquired Infiniti to drive dangerously two days earlier. “

He did not have proper plates on the car. It was also not registered in his name, the court said.

The constitutional challenge will resume on Wednesday with more coroner witnesses expected to testify. Robertson has been in custody since his arrest on June 24, 2020.

Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for Star, covering crime and justice in the Peel region. Reach him by email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

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