Woman who stopped for ducks appeals conviction

Photo: Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The woman found guilty in the deaths of two motorcyclists after stopping for ducks on a Montreal-area highway is appealing her conviction.

Emma Czornobaj is asking the province's highest court to overturn her conviction in the June 2010 deaths of Andre Roy and his teenage daughter Jessie.

A jury found Czornobaj guilty last month on two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

The trial heard that Czornobaj had stopped her car on a highway to rescue ducklings on the side of the road.

Monday's appeal argues the trial judge erred in her instructions to the jury and that the verdict was unreasonable given the evidence presented.

It wants the Quebec Court of Appeal to substitute the guilty verdicts with acquittals.

Her case returns to court on Aug. 8.

An online petition since Czornobaj's conviction has garnered several thousand signatures in her support.

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  1. Geo posted on 07/21/2014 09:15 PM
    I am puzzled. Emma stops in the left lane of a highway. Imagine that. Did her car break down ? No. Did she have her flashers on ? No.

    Two people were killed as a result of the accident.

    What does Emma think a fair sentence would be ?

    2 hours of community work ? 10 hours ? 25 hours ? or just go free ?

    I wouldn't be surprised to eventually read that Emma is suing the Roy estate for damage her car sustained in the accident.

    When Emma goes to bed at night, she should thank God that I'm not a judge at the Quebec Court of Appeal.

    I hope that she will relive that moment day after day after day...

    Oh yeah...I don't see too many people wondering about the Roy family who lost 2 members in one split-second.
    1. Paul posted on 07/22/2014 06:36 AM
      @Geo I agree. She needs to pay a big price.
      Now she is adding to the victim's family's pain by needlessly making them re-live it all over again. Like a double whammy. Intent is not a factor at all.
    2. Richard posted on 07/22/2014 05:50 PM
      @Geo First of all she is appealing the conviction, not the sentence

      What if her car had broken down? Would everything be ok now?
      2 people were killed because the motorcyclist was tailgating and driving 130 in a 90 zone! The reason the car was stopped is irrelevant...the way the bike was driving is the reason they are both dead

      If I was a appeals court judge. the prosecutor, the judge and everyone on the jury would have their licence suspended
  2. Drew posted on 07/22/2014 01:14 AM
    She is guilty of stupidity but the motor bike was in excess speed Rule of thumb is for every 10 mph it is one car length .The bike was going over the speed limit he should have been 10 car lengths away or more at least 150 feet if you're going 60 mph, that's 88 feet per second, which means you should allow about 176 feet. so, obviously you were following waaaay too closely. In conclusion if the motor bike was driving according to physics way to fast and he was unable to stop. also a hit in the back side you are always at fault. This girl should get community time a suspended license to but her in jail is a waste of the taxpayers money
    1. Paul posted on 07/22/2014 06:19 AM
      @Drew The car was PARKED on the fast lane of the highway while the driver was outside the car chasing ducks when the motorcycle hit.
      There are minimum speeds that need to be maintained (60kph) and being parked on the highway does not meet these minimum standards.
      If you park your car on the highway and walk away from it, it is 100% certain that someone will eventually hit you in the back of your car.
      By definition, if you tailgate a parked car, then both cars would be parked. She belongs in jail.
      Negligence causing death is a crime.
    2. Kyle posted on 07/22/2014 03:05 PM
      @Drew Criminal law does not recognize contributory negligence (for example the bikers speed) nor does it have any mechanism to apportion responsibility for the harm occasioned by criminal conduct.

      I agree that she shouldn't go to jail but I think that justice will fine an appropriate punishment for her negligence that caused the lives of two people.
  3. Norma Adler posted on 08/01/2014 11:20 PM
    How many people have made tragic decisions resulting in loss of life but have never been prosecuted for it. The child left in the pool when the mother runs to answer the phone etc. It was a horrible mistake with no malice intent. Yes 2 people died but there is more than 1 party at fault here. Life in jail would be ridiculous
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