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No Mistrial for Withdrawn Violation Ticket Presented to Jury


The personal injury claimant was turning left at a dedicated left-turn lane in order to enter the parking lot of Kensington Square Shopping Centre on East Hastings Street in Burnaby, B.C. and collided with another vehicle travelling eastbound on East Hastings Street (Jones v. Frohlick,2018 BCCA 170). He suffered a displaced fracture of the sternum, and injuries to his knee, elbow, neck, and headaches.
A jury found the claimant 85% at fault and the other driver 15% liable for the accident. The claimant  appealed stated the judge was wrong to admit the evidence of a traffic ticket he was issued and its withdrawal. On appeal, he requested an order setting aside the jury’s verdict; a declaration of a mistrial; and an order remitting the matter to the trial judge for determination or for a new trial by a judge without a jury.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal stating:

[31]   The impugned evidence in this case was not inflammatory. Nor was it in my view highly prejudicial as it was potentially open to both unfavourable and favourable inferences to Mr. Jones’ claim, the latter including that the ticket was withdrawn because it had no merit or, as was noted by the judge in his ruling, that it was misguided from the start. In these circumstances, I find no error in the judge’s exercise of his discretion in deciding that a corrective instruction was appropriate to alleviate the potential of any prejudice that may have been caused by the admission of the impugned evidence.

[32]       In my view, the instructions were also adequate. The direction to the jury that they should not consider the fact of the traffic ticket or its subsequent withdrawal or dismissal as part of their deliberations on liability, as it was not relevant to their determination, was clear and unambiguous, and therefore forceful. The instruction could not have been misunderstoods by the jury as permitting them to consider the impugned evidence, not only in assessing the evidence as a whole, but also in assessing the credibility of the witnesses and of Mr. Jones’ evidence in particular…

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

Tags: At Fault, Left Turn Car Accident Cases, liability, Mistrial, Negligence

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