Distracted Driving Presentation at David Thompson Sends Strong Message

Members of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia delivered a highly compelling message of safety developed by the founders of End Distracted Driving, to dozens of David Thompson students last Friday.

End Distracted Driving was created by Joel Feldman and his wife Dianne after their daughter Casey, 21, was killed as a result of being struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk.

"Distracted driving is a devastating problem, both in BC and abroad," asserts Aseem Dosanjh, the 2016 President of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia. "More than 80 people are killed each year in our province due to drivers being distracted. The high number of injuries and the number of people impacted by dangerous, reckless driving is too staggering to comprehend. Distracted driving has to stop. "

The presentation to the DT Social Studies 11 classes included opening remarks from BC's Minister of Justice, Attorney General Suzanne Anton, who is also the Member of the Legislative Assembly representing Vancouver-Fraserview, the constituency in which David Thompson Secondary School is located.

Defence cites flaws in Mr. Big sting at murder trial of Jean James

KEITH FRASER / Publishing date: Nov 01, 2011  •  November 2, 2011

A lawyer for accused killer Jean Ann James says his client made a false confession that she murdered her friend after discovering the friend was having an affair with James’ husband.

The motive for Jean Ann James murdering her friend was that she was in a jealous rage over news Gladys Wakabayashi was having an affair with her husband, a prosecutor argued Wednesday.

During final submissions, Crown counsel Kerr Clark told a jury that James, 72, felt betrayed after discovering the affair and drove to Wakabayashi’s Shaughnessy home.

He said the evidence from a confession James made to undercover cops shows that she used a box cutter to slit her friend’s throat.

“Jealous rage and betrayal is a very good reason for someone to be very, very angry,” he told the jury.

Clark noted James herself confessed that she had a plan and acted deliberately, methodically destroying all evidence of the crime.

James has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the June 1992 slaying of Wakabayashi, the daughter of a Taiwanese billionaire.

No charges were initially laid in the police investigation but the file was re-opened in 2007 and an 11-month-long police sting launched.

James is captured confessing to the murder at a meeting with a police undercover officer posing as a crime boss at a Montreal hotel in November 2008.

Clark said there may be some discrepancies in the details James gave of the murder, but he argued that was understandable given the passage of time.

He said there was evidence James’s husband, Derek James, had had other affairs but that the accused’s anger at Wakabayashi was heightened by the fact she was a friend, not a stranger.

“One thing that’s very clear is that this was a very, very violent attack. It’s a crime that only can be committed by someone with exceeding anger and resentment.”

He added: “It appears it was almost an attempt at a decapitation.”

Aseem Dosanjh, James’s lawyer, told the jury police stings like the one targeting his client result in confessions which, by their very nature, are unreliable and which some would say are “notoriously” unreliable.

“I want to be clear, this is not a DNA case, this is also not a fingerprint case. This is a false-confession case.”

Dosanjh said the lack of hold-back evidence — evidence that would only be known to the killer — should raise a reasonable doubt for the jury. client made a

“If the design of the undercover operation has flaws in it, that should raise concerns and that would raise a doubt.

“And if the police put too much pressure on a 69-year-old woman, that is a flaw and should also raise a doubt.”

Dosanjh argued the police investigation that led to the “so-called” confession lacked reliability safeguards.

“Mrs. James’s version of events in that video recording is just not reliable. It’s not reliable because she did not do this crime.

“She is making up a story, putting together various pieces of second-hand information she had available to her and trying to make it all seem consistent and impressive.”

B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Catherine Bruce told the jury she expects to give them final instructions on Thursday before they begin deliberations.





Victim of Transit police beating speaks out after video surfaces

Chad Pawson, Karin Larsen · CBC News · Posted: Jul 09, 2016 10:23 PM PT | Last Updated: July 10, 2016

Former UBC student and football player claims incident was racially motivated, has filed civil suit

The man beaten by Transit Police five years ago at the Rupert Street SkyTrain station is speaking out about the incident after video of it has surfaced.

"I thought I was going to get beaten to death," said the man who can't be named due to a publication ban but spoke to media on Saturday after video showed the violence of the confrontation.

"I was punched in the mouth originally and that's when I knew this was a fight or flight situation, there's going to be danger," he said,

Last month Transit Police Const. Edgardo Diaz Rodriguez was given 12 months probation in relation to the incident after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm. Diaz Rodriquez apologized in court saying he lost control of the situation.

The other officer involved has since left the force, but is named as part of a civil suit brought by the victim who is seeking damages.

The victim, a 22-year-old UBC student at the time of the assault, had gone to the station to meet someone but left after getting a text from a friend.

He was first confronted by transit police on the stairs leading from the platform and issued a ticket for fare evasion.

The officers then decided to arrest the him for obstruction, claiming he had provided a false name. The court heard he had in fact given them his full name.

"One thing led to another and they're trying to arrest me for no real reason at all," said the victim. "I even said I'll pay the ticket, I'll do that and you can let me go but they were not having any of that."

After that, the victim says the situation escalated.

The victim tried to flee but was grabbed and then struck more than a dozen times by the two baton-wielding officers, with Diaz Rodriguez delivering the majority of the blows to the victim's head and neck area.

"I have multiple injuries, my back had been riddled by the baton, I must have had a dozen strikes on my body, my elbows were swollen, I got hit in the ankles, my forearms got a lash on it," he said. "Obviously my head I had stitches there, my lip had a cut from the original punch."

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Society, who has seen the video, says it's unsettling.

"It's ghastly, it's simply shocking," she said. "What you see in the video is someone being batonned repeatedly, someone who is posing absolutely no threat to anyone you can see."

Meanwhile Transit Police is not commenting on the video or the claim by the victim and his lawyer Aseem Dosanjh that the incident was racially motived.

"We are hoping to purpose this case by way of jury trial, because I think people in our community here in Canada will see this case for what it is all about which is a young man, the fact is that he comes from a coloured background, was approached by the police at most should have been given a ticket, but instead was beat viciously," he told CBC News.

The victim says he has been unable to play football as a result of the incident and suffer panic attacks whenever he sees Transit Police.

Meanwhile Diaz Rodriguez has been placed on administrative duties for five years with the force and continues to collect his full salary.

In response to the victim's civil claim, the two defendants say the plaintiff did not suffer any injury, loss, damage or expense as alleged and that their actions were necessary to carry out their duties as Transit Police officers.

Fate of Accused Killer Jean James in Hands of the Jury

Kim Bolan Publishing date: Nov 03, 2011  •  November 3, 2011

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce gave her charge to jury Thursday in the Jean Ann James first-degree murder case. The jury is now deliberating.

The Richmond senior is charged with slitting the throat of her friend Gladys Wakabayashi on June 24, 1992. The trial heard James believed her husband Derek was sleeping with Wakabayashi,s the 41-year-old daughter of a Taiwanese billionaire.

"The Crown said that in a jealous rage, James was determined to get rid of her rival and carefully plotted the crime, telling Gladys she had a gift for her and arriving at Wakabayashi Selkirk Street home with box-cutters and a murderous plan."

James finally confessed what she did to undercover cops posing as a crime ring in a so-called “Mr. Big” sting in 2008. She was arrested and charged a short time later.

Her lawyer, Aseem Dosanjh, pointed out inconsistencies between what James said to police and the evidence from the crime scene. He said she falsely confessed because she wanted to earn money from the ring due to financial stress she was under.

Over the three-hour recitation of the evidence at the four-week murder trial, Bruce highlighted the testimony from the various witnesses and told the jury to carefully consider what both the Crown and defence presented.

This trial has been so sensational that the courtroom was packed every day. Members of the public jostled to get a seat and some were left listening to the evidence from the hallway through the open door.

Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. set to take government to court over ICBC changes

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. is set to launch a constitutional challenge against the provincial government over new Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) rules.

The constitutional challenge is expected to be filed on Monday. The trial lawyers say they are attempting to protect the charter rights of British Columbians injured on the province’s roads.

“Access to justice is a basic human right guaranteed to us as Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. president Ron Nairne said.
“The approach this government has taken to legislative and regulatory changes to address ICBC’s mismanagement problems violates the rights of British Columbians. This should be about protecting the public interest — not about protecting ICBC.”
A constitutional challenge means a law is being challenged in court to determine if it violates or is inconsistent with the Constitution of Canada, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The overhaul at ICBC comes into effect on Monday.

As a result of the change, there will be a limit of $5,500 on pain and suffering payouts for injuries that fall under the minor injury definition and a new independent dispute resolution process to help settle injury claims.

The changes are expected to save ICBC more than $1 billion — a welcome sign for a corporation that is forecast to lose more than that amount this year.

“These are massive changes. They are [the] largest change in the 45-year history of this company,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said.

“This is a massive reorienting of the system. We are moving away from one oriented on litigation and [to one that] is really focused on care.”

At the core of the legal changes is the expansion of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT will be used to resolve motor vehicle accident injury claim disputes valued at $50,000 or less.

“Improving access to justice is the heart of our work and what motivates us every day,” CRT chair Shannon Salter said.

“We are looking forward to taking on this expanded role and helping British Columbians resolve these disputes without the time, stress and expense of going to court.”

It will be up to the tribunal to determine whether an injury is “minor,” whether a person is entitled to accident benefits and who is responsible for a crash. Where parties involved in a crash can’t agree, the CRT can make binding decisions that are enforceable as court orders.

The reason the province has moved things to a tribunal is to deal with rising settlement costs that have been driven by legal bills. ICBC says there has been an uncontrolled gap growing between the premiums collected from customers and the cost of the claims paid out each year.

Members of the Trial Lawyer Association of B.C. are concerned that the regulations emerging from the ICBC changes will “unduly restrict access to the courts” and unfairly reduce compensation for those injured on the road.

The trial lawyers also sought out the opinion of former B.C. attorney general and premier Ujjal Dosanjh.

“I am deeply concerned with the impacts on my fellow British Columbians of the impending legislation introduced by our current government. Fixing ICBC is a priority, but not at the expense of access to justice and the charter rights of British Columbians,” Dosanjh said.

“I felt compelled to speak out as I do not believe this government has clearly understood or described the impacts of this legislation on the citizens of B.C., especially those least able to advocate for themselves after an injury resulting from a road accident.”

Two of Dosanjh’s sons work at the Dosanjh Law Group and advertise work on both motor vehicle accidents and soft tissue injuries. His son Aseem previously served as president of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.

Ian Mulgrew: Attorney general under fire for bowing to ICBC concerns

Ian Mulgrew: Attorney general under fire for bowing to ICBC concerns

B.C. Supreme Court justices and senior lawyers have quit an important advisory committee after Attorney General Suzanne Anton bowed to concerns from ICBC and rescinded cost and fee changes to civil litigation.

The remaining lawyers said that without judicial representation, the 14-member blue-ribbon body was “essentially defunct.”

In an astounding rift between the judiciary and the government over the cost of civil lawsuits, the en masse resignations followed cabinet’s March 31 repeal of sections of an order-in-council announced in January and scheduled to come into force July 1.

Those sections reflected the committee’s recommendations on tariffs and the calculation of approved expenses in a lawsuit — the successful litigant normally recoups some, but not all, of their out-of-pocket costs.

The changes streamlined the way of determining what expenses were allowed and it was hoped would have led to the successful litigant recovering a larger share but still not all of their legal costs.

It is unclear whether ICBC has been too aggressively defending losing lawsuits and the increased costs under the now-rescinded changes were a result — though that is what the numbers suggest.

“Our preliminary estimate on what the change could cost ICBC customers is approximately $250 million in the first year and an ongoing annual cost of at least $90 million,” said ICBC spokeswoman Lindsay Olsen.

Committee members’ deliberations and their resignations fall within the scope of cabinet confidentiality and so they are essentially gagged.

“I am not aware of any occasions when this has occurred (since the committee was created in 1977),” explained Bruce Cohen, the Superior Courts communications officer.

The attorney general said she was impelled to act after ICBC raised concerns at “the 11th hour” with the Finance Ministry.

“ICBC supports and appreciates the Attorney General’s decision to take the time to fully consider all the information available regarding these changes to ensure the impact on all the affected parties is understood,” Olsen said in an emailed statement.

“Anything that increases the cost to defend motorists could have an impact on everyone’s insurance rates.”

However, the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. — with a large number of personal-injury litigators among its membership of roughly 1,400 — was surprised to learn of the Crown corporation’s involvement.

“The changes were good and were good for the practice of law,” said Aseem Dosanjh, president of the group.

“From our perspective as consumers, we thought it was a smart approach. I don’t particularly like the optics of this … not even a proper transparent explanation was given to us. The AG never point blank told me it was ICBC.”

Anton told him that she was rescinding the changes because “other people” had concerns, he said.

“And I can appreciate why she wouldn’t want to tell me that,” Dosanjh added, “because we’d probably be a little more concerned and want to know why the AG was taking political instruction from the Insurance Corp. of B.C. when she has a well-constituted committee to do that for her.”

Anton maintained she was not taking ICBC’s side or blocking the changes forever, she only wanted to allow further consultation.

“ICBC put up its hand and said the implementation of this policy for July 1 is going to have an impact on us,” a ministry spokesman said.

“The attorney (general) didn’t say, ‘Oh, well I’m concerned about it’ and take up their case. She just said, ‘Oh well, this is news to me,’ and she wanted to give them a chance to make their case.”

Anton maintained that the committee fell down on the job this year and then wouldn’t schedule an emergency meeting with her to deal with the problem.

“I don’t think she’s excited the way this played out,” her spokesman said.

“But she needed to rescind the (order in council) so she could allow that consultation, understand any impacts on ICBC … I don’t think that was a fault issue, these were just circumstances that were unexpected and the minister finds it unfortunate.”

The committee’s membership and stature in the legal firmament belied that explanation.

Appointed by the attorney general, it included judges, masters, representatives of court services, legislative counsel and members of the bar.

The members of the private bar were chosen for their expertise in civil or family litigation and also to broadly represent larger and smaller areas of the province.

“The composition of the committee, together with a policy of expansive consultation, ensures that proposed amendments to the rules are evaluated in the broadest context,” according to its mandate.

After citing that responsibility, the ministry spokesman said Anton wasn’t satisfied the expansive consultation “was being done here … she went back to the committee and said this needs to be addressed … the main operators in the justice system didn’t know anything about it.”

Again, the committee’s membership makes that questionable — Ed Montague, for instance, was former president of the Trial Lawyers and a current board member.

Still, the minister’s aide emphasized she’s not taking ICBC’s side: “She’s saying we have to be able to let them make their case on the impact … we need to hit the pause button. She wants it done right.”

The committee included Justice Nathan Smith (Chair), Justice Paul Pearlman, Justice Robert Punnett, Justice Barbara Young, Registrar Stuart Cameron, Peter Behie, Q.C., Daniel Bennett, Q.C., John Hogg, Q.C., Maureen Lundell, Q.C., Dinyar Marzban, Q.C., Kenneth McEwan, Q.C., Ed Montague, Kevin Kohan, Legislative Counsel (ex officio), Jess Gunnarson, Justice Services (ex officio), and Jill Leacock, Legal Counsel and Secretary.