Guilty plea should never have been considered: Drover’s lawyer
Ed Drover is appealing his conviction for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
The financial adviser and Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board member was sentenced in February after pleading guilty to a single count.
At Supreme Court in St. John’s this morning, lawyers for Drover were granted an extension to file an appeal by Justice Carl Thompson.
The case will be back in court on Aug. 4, at which time a date is expected to be set for the appeal hearing.
When he entered his guilty plea, through an agreed statement of facts, Drover admitted to driving in downtown St. John’s on Aug. 23, 2010 and, encountering road repair work near Rawlins Cross, pushing a City of St. John’s employee with his Range Rover a couple of times when the employee tried to stop him from entering the construction area.
The worker was trying to stop the vehicle because of a piece of heavy equipment was crossing the road at the time. A flag person on site saw Drover’s vehicle hit the city worker and walked over.
“(He) positioned himself in front of the Range Rover and was also pushed by the vehicle, causing him to fall down,” notes the agreed statement.
According to lawyer, Bob Simmonds, the decision to appeal was made after he became aware of a witness in the case — one who was apparently in the vehicle behind Drover at the time.
If Simmonds had known about the witness sooner, he said, he would never have suggested a guilty plea as an option for his client.
The witness has signed an affidavit.
With the acceptance of the Crown, Thompson agreed to an extension for Drover’s attorneys.
Drover had no criminal record at the time of his original sentencing. Simmonds also presented a trio of character witnesses on his behalf. Ultimately, he was given an absolute discharge, with a victim surcharge of $1,500 to be paid within three months.
The first man to be struck by Drover’s vehicle, Robert Doyle, read an impact statement at the time of the sentencing, describing a visit to the hospital, subsequent knee problems and physiotherapy, which continues to this day.
Two civil actions have been launched in relation to the case.