Nanaimo trial delayed after accused dangerous driver fires lawyer

Nanaimo trial delayed after accused dangerous driver fires lawyer

WATCH: A Supreme Court trial in Nanaimo, involving a fatal 2015 crash, has seen an unusual delay. The trial for the man accused of dangerous driving causing death, fleeing the scene and refusing a breathalyzer started Monday and his lawyer was supposed to start arguing his case on Friday. But that lawyer has been fired. Kendall Hanson reports.

In November 2015, popular Nanaimo musician Heidi Plato died when her truck was struck by a driver in another pickup.

The man accused of being behind the wheel of that vehicle, Dustin Zinter, is now on trial, facing multiple charges including dangerous driving causing death.

But on Friday, his trial came to a sudden stop after Zinter fired his lawyer.

“In this case, I was discharged after the close of the Crown’s case,” said fired lawyer Stephen Taylor. “That is unusual and in 28 years of practice, this is a first for me.”

It’s not the first time Zinter has fired his counsel. Stephen Taylor was his third lawyer.

Zinter says he needs an expert forensic engineer to prove his case.

“I asked them both [his former lawyers]. They said can’t do it [because of] legal aid. Legal aid was the biggest issue,” said Zinter, the accused. “They didn’t even try to put the application in. I said put the application in. I’ll feed you the information that you need.”

But Zinter’s former lawyer says getting an expert engineer at this point may not help.

“I arrived to find that he was somehow displeased and this matter has been simmering for some time, the accident reconstruction, but since the vehicles were destroyed long ago there’s little to be gained,” said Taylor.

The B.C. Supreme Court Justice hearing Zinter’s case agreed to delay his trial until Monday morning to give Zinter time to see if he can find another lawyer who would be willing to defend him at this late stage.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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