Turley not guilty in Maple Ridge teen's death

Shannon Raymond, 16.  - The News/Files
Shannon Raymond, 16.
— image credit: The News/Files

Victoria Turley said little to the media Friday after being found not guilty in the death of Shannon Raymond, the Maple Ridge teenage girl who died after ingesting alcohol and ecstasy.

But later, through her lawyer David Milburn, Turley said Raymond’s death was an “absolute tragedy – and her sympathies lie with the family.”

Turley was acquitted before a packed and emotional Supreme Court in New Westminster. With the courtroom divided into supporters from either side, sobs and hugs followed the decision for several minutes.

Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein ruled that Turley’s behaviour, in not seeking medical help, but tending to Raymond throughout the night, was not a marked departure from what a reasonable person would do.

She added Turley was with Raymond almost the entire time and that a reasonable person would conclude that “she was improving, rather than getting worse.” The judge explained her decision in a 90-minute ruling.

Turley faced one count of failure to provide the necessities of life in connection with Raymond’s death – a charge laid under a rarely used section of the Criminal Code.

Police alleged Raymond was in the care of the accused and in medical distress at the time, July 26, 2008.

A 911 call made during the last minutes of Raymond’s life was played during the trial.

Turley made the call at 6 a.m. that day after finding Raymond unconscious in her former home on 119th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

“She took ecstasy,” a frantic Turley told a paramedic on the phone. She was directed to lie Raymond flat on her back and begin CPR.

Turley relayed the paramedic’s instructions to her boyfriend, who performed chest compressions and CPR on the unconscious girl, but got no response, despite trying twice.

“She is cold,” Turley told the paramedic, who assured her help was on its way.

The court also heard that Raymond combined alcohol and ecstasy during a birthday celebration held on a “party bus” the night before.

Toxicology results confirmed she died from complications of the club drug MDMA, a substance she had possibly tried for the first time that night. But there was no evidence that Raymond had a seizure, said Stromberg-Stein.

No witnesses were called in defence of Turley.

Milburn told Justice Stromberg-Stein that the Crown had failed to prove its case.

He added later that media reports portrayed Turley as a host of a teen party when actually, it was a party for adults only, and that teens showed up uninvited after a night of partying elsewhere and were not given booze or drugs in her home.

Julie Raymond, Shannon’s mother, sobbed outside the courthouse after the ruling Friday.

“Shannon would still be alive if someone had done right thing,” she said.

“With every rainfall they experience for the rest of their lives, it will never equal the amount of tears that we have shed for Shannon.”

Danielle Raymond said her sister could have survived.

“One person on the bus, one person at the house, just one person, if one person would have called 911 or called me or called my mom to let us know what was going on – then Shannon would probably be here – and nobody did that.”

Milburn said after the ruling that Shannon Raymond’s death was a tragedy.

“It shows the dangers of the consumption of ecstasy,” he added. “It’s a dangerous drug that should be more regulated than it is.”

He added later that parents may now be more vigilant about the risks. “I think some parents will come away with a different viewpoint on ectasy.

“We know a lot more about ecstasy in 2012 than society and the public did in 2008.”

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