SURREY — A new trial has been ordered for a man who was convicted of dangerous driving after the appeal court found the trial judge had erred in finding he was actually the driver.
The B.C. Court of Appeal found the judge’s reasoning was flawed in finding Gregory Joseph Scuby was behind the wheel at the time the vehicle was being driven dangerously.
“The trial judge drew a number of inferences from the evidence and, relying on those inferences, concluded that the only rational conclusion to be drawn from the evidence as a whole was that the appellant was the driver of the vehicle when it was being operated in a manner dangerous to the public,” Justice Gregory Fitch noted.
The Auto Crime Target Team in Surrey spotted a 1990s red GMC Sonoma pickup truck with stolen plates parked on 59th Avenue, on March 27, 2012. Police described the man in the car as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, clean shaven with short dark hair, wearing a black leather jacket, handling a cell phone and “acting sleepy.”
The surveillance officers say the driver move the Sonoma twice. At one point it was parked under an overpass. Police decided to do a “roadside stop” and the Sonoma sped off, its driver performing dangerous maneuvers that imperiled other motorists. Police then spotted what they believed to be the same vehicle in Coquitlam, and again lost it. Seven hours later they found it illegally parked in Port Moody with Scuby asleep in the driver’s seat and arrested him.
Despite the behavior of the driver in Surrey and Scuby in Port Moody being “both peculiar and similar,” Fitch noted, the trial judge erred in finding they were one and the same based on the circumstantial evidence before the court.
“I would allow the appeal and order a new trial,” Fitch decided.
Justices Elizabeth Bennett and John Savage concurred.