Two B.C. Appeal Court justices have ordered a new trial following the acquittal last year of Andelina Kristina Hecimovic of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the deaths of Beckie Dyer and Johnny De Oliveira four years ago.
“Without having a new trial, it sets a precedent for everybody,” Becky’s mother, Debbie Dyer, said Monday.
“It’s a huge thing for the Crown to take it to appeal.”
When the new trial will start in New Westminster Supreme Court, though, isn’t known.
Hecimovic has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Rebecca ‘Beckie’ Dyer, 19, and her boyfriend, Johnny De Oliveira, 21, died around midnight Oct. 19, 2010 on Lougheed Highway near Harris Road.
A Toyota driven by Hecimovic skidded sideways over a concrete median, flipped and landed on top of the couple’s Suzuki Swift. Hecimovic was driving in the right-turn-only lane when she crossed the intersection of Harris Road and Lougheed Highway on a red light. An expert estimated she hit the concrete median at a speed of between 100 or 110 km/h.
In the initial trial in September 2013, Justice Miriam Gropper ruled that Hecimovic was not trying to beat the red light.
Hecimovic testified at trial that she was heading to her boyfriend’s house after a trying day working as a nurse at Eagle Ridge Hospital, where a suicidal young man vomited on her.
Hecimovic told the court she was thinking about her shift and suddenly smelled something odd as she approached the intersection. When she looked at her scrubs she noticed vomit on her shirt and burst into tears. She was trying to wipe the tears off her face and focus on the road when she realized she had run a red light.
Gropper found that Hecimovic’s behaviour was not a “marked departure from the norm” because many people speed along that stretch of Lougheed Highway.
The Crown appealed the acquittal this October, with the three appeal court justices making their decision Friday.
Both families launched a letter writing campaign, accompanied with a video following Hecimovic’s acquittal.
Justice J.A. Willcock, supported by Madam Justice J.A. Garson, supported appeal.
Willcock said it was an error to consider only those acts which demonstrate dangerous driving. The justice added it was an error not to consider the conduct of the driver, in light of all the evidence, to determine if it was a “marked departure” from the standard care expected of a reasonable person.
However, Justice J.A. Tysoe supported the original acquittal, which said the driver’s conduct was reasonable.
Over the past four years, Debbie Dyer has followed the case through the courts.
She hopes that a new trial will be begin before June.
“Hopefully, it won’t be another year.”
One of the reasons she’s followed the case, in addition to the heartbreak of losing her only daughter, is to bring attention to the dangers of driving recklessly, and speeding. She wants tougher laws and sentencing on dangerous driving.
“What’s changed with our society that makes it OK? It’s not OK, you’re breaking the law.”
“I have to see it through … and I’m just saying, it’s not OK to do this. What’s happened to me, I don’t want anyone to go through this.
“That’s what I advocate for all the time, is for people to slow down. Don’t panic because you’ll get there just as fast.”