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Charges dropped against woman accused in death of Calgary girl
Published Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:44AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 12, 2017 6:37PM MDT
Prosecutors in the trial of a Calgary woman charged with careless driving in the death of a four-year-old girl say they’ve dropped their case.
The court announced on Thursday morning that there was conflicting evidence in the case and the trial could no longer proceed.
Crown lawyer Rosalind Greenwood said that as the prosecution was reviewing its case, they concluded that there was no likelihood of reasonable conviction.
Justice Hawkes said the development was an entirely appropriate exercise of discretion in the difficult case.
"As a representative of the community, I have a responsibility to convey on behalf of the community our deepest sympathies to the family involved in this tragedy. This is an enormous tragedy; it's impact will continue to affect them, and I suspect Ms. Lambert, for a long time."
Avayah (Avi) Toulon was killed when she was hit by a truck at the intersection of 79 Street and 47 Avenue N.W. at about 8:00 p.m. on May 6, 2016.
Tanis Lambert, 39, was allegedly behind the wheel and remained at the scene of the crash.
Witnesses reported seeing the truck stopped at the intersection and then ended up proceeding slowly through, when the young girl ran into the path of the vehicle.
Avi’s mother Samantha testified at the trial that began on Wednesday, telling the court she’d indicated to her children that it was safe to cross the road.
Four of her five children were still on the road when the truck went through and Samantha said she began to scream at the driver to stop, but the truck never did and ended up hitting Avi.
The girl sustained serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Avi’s father Craig, who spoke to the media a month after the incident, disputed the witness’ accounts and said the truck did not stop at all until other pedestrians flagged the driver down.
Investigators ruled out excessive speed and alcohol in the incident.
Alain Hepner, Lambert's defence lawyer, said his client is pleased that the charge has been withdrawn.
"Her version of events and her testimony would have been very similar to the second civilian witness; almost identical, which reflect that this was a horrible accident; that's what it was."
He added that Lambert's health has suffered from the stress of the proceedings.
Stephen Nelson, a civil action lawyer employed by the Toulon family, said the family is very disappointed with the result of the criminal lawsuit.
"They are disappointed in the job that the Calgary Police Service and the Crown did in the way this matter was handled. There were a number of witnesses that we thought that should have been called but weren't. In any event, we look forward to the full story coming out eventually."
Nelson said the family still believes that Lambert's negligence is to blame for Avi's death.