There has been another delay in the court proceedings around a case of dangerous driving causing the death of a Ladysmith woman.
Dustin Dennis Zinter was set to be sentenced today, Oct. 2, for an accident dating back to 2015, that killed Heidi Barbara Plato, 51. The hearing has been moved to Friday, Oct. 5, at provincial court in Nanaimo.
Nick Barber, Crown counsel, informed Judge Robin Baird today that he had received correspondence from Zinter’s legal representation, Don McKay, stating that McKay was sick with the flu.
Zinter, 40 when he was charged in November 2016, had pleaded not guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and failure to provide a breath sample. He was found guilty of all charges by Baird on July 23.
According to testimony in the trial, the incident, a head-on crash in November 2015 on Yellow Point Road, occurred when the pickup truck Zinter was driving hit a pickup driven by Plato, killing her. Zinter had been represented by Stephen Taylor when the trial began on June 18, but after Barber presented his evidence, and before Taylor was set to present Zinter’s case, the defendant fired his legal counsel and chose to represent himself.
At the time, Zinter told Baird that he felt “betrayed” by Taylor, and was never provided with disclosure reports.
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Zinter’s case contradicted Barber’s evidence, stating Plato had veered into his lane. Zinter said he didn’t drink alcohol before the accident, rather he drank after and was not hiding in a ditch, as had been stated during witness testimony, but rather was sitting down. He denied previous statements he had made related to cellphone usage and said records showing multiple calls to his ex-girlfriend were made due to an auto-dialing phone application.
Zinter also said he didn’t provide a breath sample because he thought he was being asked to provide a blood sample and was being asked too many things at once.
The trial was delayed after Zinter fired Taylor.
Zinter was arrested for failing to appear in court for a June 28 date.
Barber told Baird on Tuesday that he sought a six-year prison sentence.