Regina v. A.Z. [October 2016] – Road rage

Section 267 of the Criminal Code of Canada – Assault causing bodily harm – Road rage

A.Z., an elderly gentleman, and his son were driving downtown Calgary on their way to work when they attempted to turn right at an intersection.  A.Z. was a professional driver and acted with caution as he signalled and slowly turned right.  As their vehicle was proceeding through the intersection, a man on a skateboard rolled right next to their vehicle. The skateboarder yelled racist comments at A.Z. and slammed his hands down on the hood of the vehicle.  The skateboarder believed that A.Z. nearly hit him.   The skateboarder continued the verbal assault as he walked away from the scene, failing to acknowledge or take responsibility for the damage he caused to A.Z.’s vehicle.  The skateboarder claimed that A.Z. and his son got out of their vehicle, ran at him, and repeatedly punched him in the head causing a broken orbital bone. A.Z. and his son were arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Through investigation, Sean Fagan discovered that the skateboarder had a history of violence and harboured racist hatred.  At trial, defence lawyer Sean Fagan questioned the skateboarder on his racism, which the skateboarder vehemently denied.  Unfortunately for the skateboarder, he was unaware that the defence was in possession of multiple photographs of the skateboarder with Nazi flags, in one instance saluting the flag.  When the time was right, Sean Fagan retrieved the photographs and placed them in front of the skateboarder.  When faced with the photographs, the skateboarder’s  instability and anger were exposed. The skateboarder repeatedly swore at defence lawyer Sean Fagan, as he posed more questions to him. The skateboarder could not control his anger in the courtroom, which ultimately discredited his version of events. The very competent Crown prosecutor saw the writing on the wall, and wisely entered a stay of proceedings, effectively killing the prosecution against A.Z. and his son. The positive outcome in this matter was particularly important given that A.Z. would have lost his job position, which he had held for the past 30 years.