R. v. Wong, 2017 BCSC 646 (CanLII) – Human Factors Case Brief

R. v. Wong, 2017 BCSC 646 (CanLII)

Date: 2017-03-16

Facts

The Defendant, Mr. Wong, was backing up while driving his motor vehicle towards his garage and struck a pedestrian who sustained significant injuries in the collision. Mr. Wong then left the scene. Mr. Wong later returned to the scene and remained until after first responders and the RCMP arrived but did not disclose his involvement in the collision.

In the period after the collision, Mr. Wong returned to his residence to erase footage from his garage camera surveillance.

The case concerned whether the defendant knew or was wilfully blind to what had occurred.

The Judge ruled that the Defendant was guilty as charged of being involved in a hit and run collision.

Plaintiff’s Human Factors Position

The Plaintiff did not call upon a human factors expert and did not provide a human factors position.

Defendant’s Human Factors Position

Mr. Kurt Ising provided a human factors report which addressed the visibility of the pedestrian during the collision. Mr. Ising concluded that there may have been a sightline from Mr. Wong to the pedestrian via the various mirrors, windows, or display screens. In addition, Mr. Ising found that portions of the pedestrian’s body or the white grocery bag were detectable within the rear view camera image, the left side view mirror, the rear view mirror, or by direct viewing through the rear window. Mr. Ising opined that the images in camera and mirrors did not mean that the pedestrian was detected by Mr. Wong. Depending on the timing of Mr. Wong's glances, the images in camera and mirrors did not mean that Mr. Wong detected the pedestrian.

Judge’s Rationale

The judge found that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether there was knowledge or wilful blindness as to what had occurred at the time Mr. Wong initially left the scene in the immediate aftermath of the collision.

However, the judge found that the Defendant’s subsequent conduct in the minutes after the collision (such as when Mr. Wong returned to his residence to erase footage from his garage camera surveillance) was evidence that he knew or was wilfully blind to the fact that he had been involved in a collision that caused bodily harm.

 

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