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 Posted in    |  on May 3rd, 2013  |  by

Bagri deadly driving case to resume in nine months

TRIAL SET - The trial for the man accused of dangerous driving causing this July 2011 crash in Kootenay National Park will face trial over six days next spring. Pioneer file photo

TRIAL SET – The trial for the man accused of dangerous driving causing this July 2011 crash in Kootenay National Park will face trial over six days next spring. Pioneer file photo

By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff

A trial confirmation hearing will be held on February 10th, 2014, for a Vancouver man facing four counts of dangerous driving causing death in connection with a fatal crash in Kootenay National Park on July 22nd, 2011.
Jaswinder Singh Bagri, 41, will be in Invermere Provincial Court for the hearing. The trial is expected to start next March and last for several days, possibly as many as seven.
“Part of the reason the hearing and trial is so far off is that it’s a seven-day trial and it’s harder to find trial time,” said Lynal Doerksen, Bagri’s defence lawyer. “The other part of it is that cases are already backed up in the courts.”
Mr. Bagri requires a Punjabi translator, which only makes it harder to find court dates, said Mr. Doerksen. Another complicating factor is that provincial court in Invermere usually only takes place one day at a time.
The trial will run from March 17th through March 20th, 2014 and could possibly spill over to April 28th and April 29th of next year.
Mr. Bagri was driving his unloaded flatdeck B-train commercial tractor trailer southbound on Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park on July 22nd, 2011. Near Olive Lake, Mr. Bagri lost control of his vehicle, which crossed the highway’s centerline and jackknifed directly into the path of a northbound Dodge campervan towing a Suzuki SUV.
In the camper was a family of four — Robert Howard, 48, his wife Ana-Maria Dias, 50, and their two children Veronica, 9, and Samantha, 11 — from Palo Alto, California on vacation in B.C. The tractor trailer smashed into the camper and SUV, pinning the two smaller vehicles against the highway barrier, which ignited all three vehicles and trapped the family inside the blazing camper.
All four died in the fire. Mr. Bagri has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His next appearance in court will be at the February 10th, 2014, confirmation hearing.

Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@cv-pioneer.com
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Reporter Steve Hubrecht arrived in the Columbia Valley after working for newspapers in Fernie, B.C., and Beijing, China. He spends as much time outside as possible – if he's not at the Pioneer and Echo office, he's probably out telemarking or hiking. He grew up in southern Ontario and graduated with an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in 2006.

10 Responses to Bagri deadly driving case to resume in nine months

  1. Ron Christensen says:

    Why does Bagri need a translator — is he not living in Canada? I would hope he has a driver’s license, which means he should be able to speak and write and read English, the official language of Canada.

  2. Debbie Woodward says:

    I was very angry to read your article & read that this person needs a translator? Really? Now how did this man get his license in the first place, did he have a translator for that? He has 9 months, learn to speak & understand English!!!

    • Chris says:

      Many people obtain a driver’s licence without advanced English comprehension abilities. The levels of verbal and written comprehension necessary for the accused to understand the proceedings of a criminal trial are considerably higher than those necessary for obtaining a driver’s licence. Therefore it is no surprise that a translator would be required for aiding the accused to understand more complex matters.

      An accused has the right to fully understand the nature of the charges and the particulars of the proceedings. Persons who speak and read English as a second language may well need assistance.

  3. David Pacey says:

    As to the needs of an individual that happens to be of other nationality and needing a translator and being allowed to drive commercially in Canada? :::::::
    In the court system, it is incumbent upon the courts to assure the accused of complete knowledge of what is being said at all times. Simple set piece there.

    To live in Canada without speaking English? You too can live in Japan and not speak Japanese and you can also, without speaking Greek, drive a car in Greece as long as you hold an international drivers license. Simple set piece there X 2.

    To learn English after immigrating to Canada within 9 months would be akin to you yourself learning Swahili in 9 months after you immigrated to South Africa and in that time frame.
    Hell, I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and don’t speak or write the “Other” official language of Canada – do you?

  4. Frank from US says:

    It is good to see that one paper in all of Canada thinks that this story is worth keeping alive. Since this tragedy occurred and up until these last few months there has been nothing in the media, much less from the RCMP concerning this horrific and senseless act of criminal ignorance.

    Please continue to keep this story alive! An entire family has been killed; that they were eradicated so completely should in no way justify the silence and complacency that has been practiced by the RCMP, the BC Prosecutor’s office and the Canadian media over these last two years.

    • david R Pacey says:

      To Frank from US – I would like to clarify a couple of things in your imbedded assumptions of Canadian courts and process.
      This is not, was not, in your words, a “senseless act of criminal ignorance”. It was an accident – tragic for those involved including I am sure, the driver, but still an accident.
      Until the courts decide to convict the driver of what ever, and in what severity it is an accident and remains so.
      The media in Canada and the police in Canada once they have laid charges in a murder, a criminal act or a death(s) or whatever, allow the Process to proceed to its ultimate conclusion – guilty or innocent or some point in between.
      It is not the place of the RCMP, the media or individuals to try and keep things in the media as you request. Canada does not work that way. Public opinion or individual opinion does not speed justice or slow justice as much as we might like it to.
      You make some pretty inflammatory statements in regards to the RCMP, Frank from US that are not justified.
      There is a system, and part of the system is that a translator is needed for this individual. Part of the system is that there be contiguous time allowed in the courts to deal with the matter. Both are difficult to find but necessary towards true justice.
      It is the place however of the public prosecutor to do his or her level best to bring to trial, guilty until proven innocent, the person being charged.
      The media is there to report news worthy items. They are not there to make news, just report, although some national news outlets seem to have forgotten that stricture.

      • Ana says:

        So David, what gives you the superiority to state that this was an “accident”? What /who gives you the right to dictate what had happened? Do you know whether the driver was given a drug/ urine test? You calling this an accident given the details is recklessness on your part.

        It is newsworthy for those of us wanting to find information regarding. Just because you don’t care much about what information is shared regarding this does not mean it is not worth covering in the news when things come up.

        You seem to have forgetten 4 were killed. When you lose someone you love, maybe you can develop some empathy for people. It does not appear you have developed that heart yet.

  5. david r pacey says:

    Back at you Ana
    Just onto the computer today and saw your blog back.
    “Accident”? Yes or No.
    Until proven otherwise, in Canada, it is always an accident; until proven otherwise. Tragic, yes, subject to splattering all over the news all the time, No poor taste.
    Always, in Canada, and subject to decision by the media in the USA, we are and have to presume innocent until proven guilty. Always.
    You don’t know the details, I don’t, and the media does not. Ergo, accident until proven otherwise.
    And as to your snide remarks about my life vis a vis death in the family or amongst friends and loved ones, you know nothing of my life or loved ones so please don’t judge on something you know nothing about.

  6. Frank from US says:

    David, your understanding of Canadian law is simplistic; I won’t even touch your clouded view of the system in the US. Innocence is always presumed until proven otherwise but so are the interests of the public. In this case, we have no knowledge of that being considered. Does this illiterate trucker still drive your roads? Was his license suspended? Was the safety record of the company that employed him examined? If this did occur, where is the public record of this? David,you come off as a bit of a brown-noser for the RCMP and the Courts. They are both organizations that are designed to be questioned and citizens within democracies as ours have every right to questions. You should too, or at least support others right to this.

  7. Brad Degen says:

    The fact alone that he needs a translator is proof enough that he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. You MUST be able to speak and write English to obtain a B.C. commercial driver’s license.The same is not true for a basic(car/pickup) license. Why are the RCMP and the Crown not investigating where he got his license fraudulently?

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