Lawyer for woman accused of dangerous driving calls crash 'inevitable,' says client received death threat
The crosswalk where Leila Bi was struck in December 2017. (CTV Vancouver Island)
VICTORIA -- The woman accused of crashing her SUV into an 11-year-old girl and severely crippling her in a Saanich crosswalk in 2017 has received at least one death threat during her trial, according to her lawyer.
Tenessa Nikirk has pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm in the Dec. 20, 2017 collision at Ash Road and Torquay Drive.
Leila Bui, now 12 years old, suffered what the Crown described in court as "catastrophic injuries," including a permanent brain injury, broken neck and ruptured spleen in the crash.
Before final submissions in her trial Monday, Nikirk's lawyer Tom Marino said his client has been the victim of harassment and at least one death threat after dash camera video of Nikirk's SUV was released on Thursday.
In his final submission, Marino argued that while Nikirk's vehicle was speeding and had crossed the solid centre line to pass two vehicles before the collision, she returned to the correct lane 580 metres before Bui was struck.
The lawyer called the collision an "inevitable accident."
A video expert hired by police previously testified that Nikirk's SUV was travelling in excess of 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone before the crash and came to a stop about 18 to 20 metres beyond where it struck the girl.
Before the trial resumed Monday, Judge Mayland McKimm and lawyers for both the Crown and defence travelled the route taken by Nikirk on that morning in 2017.
The defence proposed the outing in order to give the court a sense of what Nikirk would have seen – and not seen – before Bui was struck.
Closing arguments are scheduled to continue Tuesday. Once the final submissions are completed, the judge is expected to reserve his decision for a later date.