A man who sued the family of a deceased teenager he is accused of killing during a street race is fighting to have the $200,000 lawsuit ruled inadmissible at his criminal trial.

Jayant Soni, 35, faces charges for an April 2010 crash that killed 16-year-old Jeremie LeBlanc as he drove to the Grey Nuns Hospital where his sister was giving birth.

Witnesses said LeBlanc was making a left turn in his Oldsmobile Alero at the intersection of 66th Street and 31st Avenue. His car was struck by a Lexus and a Mercedes that were speeding alongside each other on 66th Street.

Soni, the alleged driver of the Mercedes, is accused of dangerous driving causing death, street racing causing death and refusing to provide a breath sample.

Two years after LeBlanc’s death, Soni sued the LeBlanc family for $200,000 and claimed the accident was LeBlanc’s fault. That statement of claim states that Soni was driving when the crash occurred.

On Wednesday, defence lawyer Brian Beresh argued the claim should not be admissible at Soni’s trial.

“It is proof of nothing,” Beresh said. “It is not the equivalent of a court order or judgment. A statement of claim is nothing but a series of allegations.”

Beresh said there is no proof Soni even knew what was in the claim when his lawyers filed the document.

Crown prosecutor J.P. Quenneville pointed out there is no evidence the claim was filed without Soni’s knowledge.

“A barrister and solicitor would not file an action without instruction,” he said. “The accused is the one who elected to file a statement of claim. The accused has made a judicial statement that is a confession on his part.”

Soni discontinued his lawsuit in August 2013.

Court heard Soni first admitted he was the driver to police at the scene. After the crash, Const. Michael Durec found Soni standing near the Mercedes.

“I asked him if he was the driver and he said he was,” Durec testified.

As emergency responders extricated LeBlanc and tried to resuscitate him, Soni became “excited” and repeatedly said the crash wasn’t his fault and blamed the fatally injured teen, the officer recalled.

Paramedic Bill Huget testified that Soni had a “strong” smell of alcohol on his breath after the crash and admitted he’d consumed beer earlier that night.

“I recall the patient was unco-operative with the breathalyzer,” Huget said. “In my witness statement, I said that he refused samples.”

Soni’s trial continues.

Rena Noi Onevathana, who was inside the Lexus, pleaded guilty earlier this year to fleeing the scene of an accident and was given a 90-day jail sentence.

Source: Edmonton Journal



Last updated on: 2014-11-04 | Link to this post