Deadly duck crash woman not a criminal: lawyer

The lawyer for a woman on trial in the deaths of two people whose motorcycle slammed into her vehicle after she stopped for ducks says it was an accident free of any criminal elements.

Marc Labelle delivered his closing remarks today at the jury trial of Emma Czornobaj, who is charged in the deaths of a father and daughter in June 2010.

Labelle says his client made a decision on the spur of the moment to save some ducklings on the side of a Montreal-area highway.

But he says Czornobaj then took precautions to ensure no lives were endangered by parking as far over as she could in the left lane and activating her hazard lights.

He argued that her version of the events opens the door to an acquittal on all counts.

Czornobaj is charged with two counts each of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter, Jessie.

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  1. Jordan posted on 06/11/2014 01:24 PM
    Who are we to judge human life is more precious than animals life? I don't even identify as a human based on the self-righteous, arrogant behavior of humans towards animals, the environment, etc. I would have stopped for the ducks as well. All life is precious.
    1. Dave posted on 06/11/2014 02:33 PM
      @Jordan If all life is precious, Jordan, then one does not endanger it by parking one's car on a highway.
  2. Barcham posted on 06/11/2014 01:46 PM
    I fail to understand how this ever resulted in criminal charges being filed. This was a road accident and as such should fall under the authority of the SAAQ and no fault insurance. How this is liable for criminal prosecution when a case of an indoor garage roof collapsing and killing the driver of a car which was not even running or driving on public roads was not even permitted to go to civil court, much less criminal court. This is nothing but yet another example of our poor justice system running wild.

    As to the case itself, yes she did a foolish thing but there is no excuse for the driver of the motorcycle not being able to stop. This was not a case of someone slamming on their brakes in front of another vehicle, and even if it was, the trailing vehicle would then have been responsible. It was very unfortunate but the driver of the bike was obviously not paying attention. Not to mention that on a quiet highway, there was no reason for the motorcycle to be exceeding the speed limit by one third and driving in the left lane to begin with.
    1. Dave posted on 06/11/2014 02:45 PM
      @Barcham What's not to understand, Barcham? An "accident" results when something unexpected happens after all parties have obeyed the law and taken reasonable care to prevent one.
      That's not what happened here. This crash was foreseeable. A driver who foolishly blocks a highway lane AND another who speeds excessively are the two key ingredients in a recipe for disaster.
      That's where criminal liability enters the picture, Barcham. Just because Quebec has no-fault insurance and the SAAQ does not mean you can drive dangerously here. So, this is a case of our justice system doing exactly what we want it to do -- make bad drivers fully accountable for their actions.
  3. Dave posted on 06/11/2014 01:59 PM
    Nice try, defense lawyer, but the judge should see through your ridiculous argument:
    "He says Czornobaj then took precautions to ensure no lives were endangered by parking as far over as she could in the left lane and activating her hazard lights."
    Yeah, right! That's like arguing an arsonist is innocent because he spit on a raging fire after starting it!
    No, folks, you cannot create a very dangerous hazard like parking your car on a highway, then claim you're innocent because you parked close to the painted line on the left side of the lane that you stupidly decided to block.
    And the defense of having activated one's "hazard lights?" That's like saying a shooter should get off because he painted the words "duck quickly" on the bullet he fired at you.
    Conclusion: she'll likely be found guilty of reckless endangerment -- a highway is not a parking lot. AND the motorcyclist who exceeded the speed limit by 30 km/h will also likely be found responsible (moreso, I'd say) for the crash, as he did not have control of his vehicle, and could have prevented it by not driving like an idiot.
    1. wluis posted on 06/12/2014 06:39 AM
      @Dave You' re clueless.
      If it it was up to you, police would not being giving out tickets, they would be bringing us all to Jail.

      I have an idea.....Make all cars, not be able to go faster than 10 k/m hr.
      Like that, if someone makes a mistake, they will never get killed or kill someone.
  4. Tony posted on 06/11/2014 03:14 PM
    Like I had posted on a previous news article for this case:
    This occurred in the middle of the night, on a curved section of the road!! Anyone, coming around a bend at even highway speed, will not have enough time to react to avoid this accident!! Stopping even for a short time in such a location, is asking for trouble, imagine if it would have been a truck and a person was still in the car!! One has to be responsible for ones actions, especially when putting other peoples lives in danger!
    1. Dave posted on 06/12/2014 03:17 PM
      @Tony I don't think you're right about the blind curve, middle-of-the-night setting, Tony. I've heard otherwise.
      But, if you're right about this, any prudent motorcyclist would drop his speed BELOW the speed limit under such circumstances.
      Whether it's deer, moose or a stopped car (forget the ducks -- it could have been someone else with a flat tire or mechanical breakdown on the road), you have to be ready for ANYTHING behind the wheel of a car, and especially behind the bars of a motorcycle.
      The verdict will all but certainly show that both drivers acted irresponsibly, and are thus both at fault.
    2. Dave posted on 06/12/2014 03:30 PM
      @Tony @ Tony: Here's the update -- it did NOT happen in the middle of the night, as you claim. It happened on a late-June evening, when sunset occurs around 9:00 p.m., and a bit of light remains for a short period thereafter before darkness descends.
      Second, no news report or account of the prosecution's case makes any mention of a blind curve.
      An expert witness at trial estimated the motorcycle was doing about 115 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.
  5. Karen posted on 06/12/2014 02:40 PM
    Yes, an unfortunate accident, but do drink drivers and pedophiles get life in prison?

    I would love someone to tell me what the guy got who raced in a residential street and went up on lawn to hit kids at a daycare on hallowe'en.

    Life doesn't seem right.
  6. Drew posted on 06/13/2014 01:18 PM
    Father kills daughter get 60 days in jail 30 weeks 2 days a week
    Drunk drivers get nothing
    Guys runs over children on lawn nothing
    My guess suspension of drivers permit for 2 years for poor judgement
    Motor bike going over the speed limit if you hit someone in the back you are at fault not traveling at a safe distance her stupidity for stopping for ducks. If it is smaller than you keeping going on the highway if it is bigger then you hit the breaks
  7. Adrian posted on 06/21/2014 11:47 AM
    Total farce of the justice system!!!!!!!
    What about the guys who just recently ran over bicycle riders, pedestrians with either trucks or buses?? Were they found criminally guilty?? NO, they were let off and they were all considered accidents. This case should be no different and should fall under the SAAQ. IF THIS CASE DOES NOT QUALIFY UNDER SAAQ RULES THEN WE SHOULD ALL CHANGE THE HIGHWAY INSURANCE ACT AND BE ON ANOTHER SYSTEM ALTOGETHER! THE JUSTICE SYSTEM FOR SOME REASON WANTED TO MAKE A SHOW OF THIS CASE AND THE ONLY THING IT ENDED UP SHOWING WAS A HUGE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. A HUGE INJUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE HERE, BUT THEN AGAIN, WE LIVE IN A LAND OF "PASTAGATE" AND OTHER RIDICULOUS LAWS THAT WASTE OUR FEW PRECIOUS TAX DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!! THE SHEER STUPIDITY THAT GOES ON IN THIS PROVINCE IS JUST ASTOUNDING.
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