It was a summer evening, the last night of August nearly four years ago, when two worlds violently collided on Toronto’s posh Bloor Street. In the aftermath, a cyclist lay dead, and the driver he clashed with stood accused of criminal charges in that death.
But let’s get real.
Motorists rarely face serious charges when cyclists die at their hands. After all, cyclist deaths are “just accidents,” and we don’t want to hold people accountable for “accidents.”
Except this death was no “accident.” The driver’s actions were, according to the nineteen witnesses who stepped forward, intentional.
Still, let’s get real. The cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, was Métis, and had a history of substance abuse and anger control issues. In contrast, the motorist, Michael Bryant, well, he also had a history of substance abuse and a reputation for a "pugnacious streak." But unlike Sheppard, Bryant was an attorney—in fact, Ontario’s former Attorney General, educated at some of the world’s finest universities—and a rising star in Ontario politics. For all of our comforting illusions about the Rule of Law, people like Michael Bryant don’t answer for the deaths of people like Darcy Allan Sheppard.
But there’s still at least the appearance of the Rule of Law to adhere to. Michael Bryant couldn’t just be let off without even a perfunctory nod to the Rule of Law. In the immortal words of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, there was no way this was not going to trial.