Two people hit with lengthy driving bans in connection with alleged street racing along Highway 99 last summer are appealing the penalties on the basis they were issued without evidence.
Lawyer Russ Chamberlain confirmed Wednesday petitions were filed in the B.C. Supreme Court registry in Vancouver late last week, on behalf of Dan Na Zhu and Zhuo Huang, and a notice of appeal was filed Dec. 14.
Chamberlain said Zhu’s and Huang’s rights were violated when the superintendent of motor vehicles suspended Zhu from driving for 20 months and Huang for 16 months in connection with the Aug. 31 incident.
While Chamberlain agreed motorists gave statements regarding driving behaviour witnessed that day, he said no one identified Zhu and Huang as being involved.
“The superintendent had before him no information that would allow anybody to conclude fairly that either of those two individuals was involved in racing,” he said.
“None of those other drivers say that these two individuals were doing anything wrong.
“All they got is, ‘Chinese people driving exotic cars on Highway 99.’ They got stopped in White Rock and issued tickets for which they had no proof.
“It’s so unbelievable.”
Just before 4 p.m. Aug. 31, police in White Rock and South Surrey pulled over 13 drivers following multiple complaints of luxury vehicles racing southbound on Highway 99 at speeds of up to 200 km/h. Various witnesses along their route reported seeing two cars travelling side-by-side then slowing down to allow two other vehicles in front of them to race.
All of the vehicles – a Ferrari, two Maserati Turismos, three Lamborghini Gallardos, an Audi R8, three Nissan GT-Rs, a Mercedes SL63, a Mercedes SLS and an Aston Martin DB9 – were impounded for seven days; each driver received a $196 ticket.
Police at the time said they did not have enough evidence to push for criminal charges.
In September, the provincial government filed a claim seeking forfeiture of five of the cars, on the basis the defendants “are likely to use the high-performance vehicles in the future to engage in unlawful acts.”
Chamberlain said Zhu’s Aston Martin was among those five vehicles, and that he was retained in September to fight the claim.
Chamberlain said Crown agreed Wednesday to return Zhu’s car, though a provincial spokesperson was not able to confirm the information or provide an update on the forfeiture effort by Peace Arch News press deadline Wednesday.
Chamberlain applauded the car’s return, but described the process that led to it as “total outrage.”
“It’s also frightening that we have a system that allows people’s rights to be deprived this way, in such a cavalier fashion,” he said.
Chamberlain noted while Zhu’s driving suspension is “less painful” because she is a student, Huang’s is affecting his livelihood.
“Huang is a real estate agent, he’s not some young kid,” he said. “He can’t carry on his business without his driver’s licence. It’s completely deprived him of his ability to do his job.”
Chamberlain said he expects the appeal to be heard next month.