Dangerous driving conviction overturned

Jonathan Martin, 31, was convicted of the charge in December 2010 in Campbell River provincial court

The B.C. Court of Appeal has overturned a man’s conviction for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Jonathan Martin, 31, was convicted of the charge in December 2010 in Campbell River provincial court.

On June, 2, 2009, around 8:40 a.m., Martin was driving a high-powered Ford Mustang when he briefly lost control of the car while driving out of Discovery Harbour Mall.

Witnesses described the vehicle fish-tailing before it jumped the curb and hit a woman pushing her child in a baby stroller. The mother suffered a broken leg and thumb, and partially severed ear.

Martin called it the worst day of his life and, during sentencing, Crown prosecutor John Boccabella said it was somewhat miraculous the child wasn’t injured.

The entire accident last just a few seconds and Judge Brian Saunderson determined that the car was “too much” for Martin who had previous difficulties with the manual shift.

The judge also noted that while Martin had no intention to drive dangerously, “He had neither the competence nor the experience to properly and safely drive that powerful vehicle.”

During sentencing, Judge Saunderson said there was little use in sending Martin to jail and instead handed him a suspended sentence with one year of probation and a one-year driving prohibition. However, at the time of sentencing, Martin’s lawyer, Tom Bishop, had already filed an appeal.

In a decision handed down Friday, the court of appeal determined the incident was not a marked departure from Martin’s normal driving habits. As a result, Martin’s conviction was set aside and he was acquitted.