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LOCAL EDITORIAL: Justice muted for Molly Burton
We hope for justice from our imperfect legal system, and are occasionally rewarded.
Even with a guilty plea, that does not seem to be true in the case of a then-16-year-old boy who was driving a vehicle Sept. 11 when it mowed down pedestrian Molly Burton on Comox (Dyke) Road.
That’s because he pleaded guilty Thursday only to leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily harm.
In exchange for that, the Crown waived the more serious charges of dangerous driving and impaired driving.
As disappointing as this is, we should not be too quick to condemn the Crown or the RCMP, which investigated the incident and provided evidence to support criminal charges.
The Crown is likely having trouble legally placing the youth behind the wheel beyond a reasonable doubt. That would explain the Crown’s actions in a case with such extenuating post-collision circumstances.
Burton, then 24, was flung away from the roadside, critically injured. Suffering serious trauma to her lower right leg and right arm, she lay in bushes — bleeding and terrified — for several hours.
If not for the intervention of a young man named Brody Fullerton, Burton might have died. The accused youth, who wouldn’t even acknowledge Burton’s presence in the courtroom, is lucky — no thanks to himself — that he isn’t facing more serious charges.
Defence lawyer Dale Marshall presented his client Thursday as someone who made a terrible mistake, for which he is now taking responsibility.
If this youth, who cannot be named because he is a minor, really were accepting responsibility, he would not dodge two more serious charges.
Burton, who is still wrestling with emotional trauma, cannot avoid a series of painful surgeries. She faces an uncertain future, all because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone did an awful thing and compounded it by something worse.
The judge will undoubtedly take all this into account at sentencing.