Charter challenges partially successful in Chilliwack hit-and-run case

Facing five charges in connection with 2015 incident, trial to go ahead in August

A Chilliwack man has lost most of the Charter challenges he launched in an attempt to avoid serious charges in connection with an alleged hit-and-run.

Cody Anthony James Bianco is accused of hitting a woman on Wellington Avenue on Sept. 26, 2015, driving off and continuing towards downtown going the wrong way on the one-way street, nearly striking members of a band packing up gear, and then crashing into the pedestrian island at Five Corners.

Bianco is facing a trial on five counts: impaired driving causing bodily harm, causing an accident resulting in bodily harm, failure to stop at accident scene involving bodily harm, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

In provincial court in January, his lawyer Kyla Lee argued that a number of Bianco’s Charter rights were violated that night, including that he was arbitrarily detained, he was not afforded a right to counsel and that the officer did not have enough cause to order Bianco to provide a breath sample.

In court on March 23, Judge Robert Gunnell did not give details in response to the 35 pages of written argument from defence and even more from Crown, but he ruled that the breath sample taken that night will be excluded from evidence at the trial. All other alleged Charter breaches were either rejected or not considered serious enough to warrant exclusion.

The breath sample was an issue because there was only one officer on duty that night who was qualified to do the breath test, and he had to drive to Agassiz to get the kit.

The incident began at a party on the Skwah Reserve at the end of Wellington on Sept. 26, 2015. James and Kelsey Archer were at the party, and the accused is alleged to have been in a fight with James. The couple left the party and as they walked along Wellington, Kelsey was struck from behind by a vehicle.

The court heart she was left with soft tissue damage to her leg and buttocks, a serious head injury and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Three members of the local band Rockabilly Jay & The Cadillac Bones were loading gear outside of Triple Play Pub that night when a speeding car came towards them the wrong way on Wellington, nearly striking them.

They saw the car crash into the pedestrian island, as did RCMP officer Sgt. Mike Sargent who was stopped at a traffic light.

The trial proper is scheduled to continue Aug. 31.

paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch