Jury selection underway for man accused of driving snowmobile drunk, resulting in the death of his passenger

Jury selection is underway for the trial of Thomas Whittle, who is accused of driving a snowmobile while drunk and killing his passenger after colliding with a taxi. 

Whittle, 29, is charged with dangerous driving causing death. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

The Conception Bay South man — who is representing himself in court — allegedly drove across the Humber Valley Resort bridge at 4 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2017. 

Jordyn Pollard, who was 21 at the time, was taken to Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook with severe injuries and later died.

Jordyn Pollard, 21, was killed in the collision, on Feb. 19, 2017. (Submitted by Sherry Pollard)

The trial is taking place in Corner Brook, with Justice George Murphy presiding. 

Jury selection looks different amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Potential jurors are using four separate courtrooms to distance themselves from each other during the process.

Fourteen jurors and two alternates will be selected, and the trial could begin as soon as Wednesday afternoon. 

Crown attorney Renée Coates is leading the prosecution.

While Whittle has chosen to represent himself, St. John’s criminal defence lawyer Randy Piercey has been appointed by the Crown to assist him, and give advice when necessary. It’s a legal term known as amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.”

Ultimately, however, it is up to Whittle if he accepts Piercey’s guidance. 

Not guilty plea

In the fall of 2019, Whittle pleaded not guilty to impaired driving causing death, impairing driving causing death with a blood-alcohol concentration exceeding 80 milligrams, dangerous driving causing death, impairing driving by drug causing death.

Whittle was not arrested and charged until more than a year after the crash. In March 2018, CBC asked the RCMP why it took so long to lay charges, and a media spokesperson said police had been waiting on blood analysis results.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Jury selection underway for man accused of driving snowmobile drunk, resulting in the death of his passenger

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/thomas-whittle-trial-corner-brook-1.5871206?cmp=rss
Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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