A B.C. Supreme Court judge issued an arrest warrant for a man on trial for dangerous driving causing death who failed to show for court today.
Dustin Dennis Zinter, 40 at the time charges were laid, was involved in a November 2015 accident on Yellow Point Road that killed Ladysmith’s Heidi Barbara Plato, 51. Zinter pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and refusing to provide a breath sample.
Zinter’s trial began in Supreme Court in Nanaimo on June 18, but he fired Stephen Taylor, his legal counsel, last Friday, telling Judge Robin Baird that he felt betrayed and he hadn’t been provided with disclosure of evidence – he also sought a new accident reconstruction report. Taylor’s dismissal came well into the trial and after Nick Barber, Crown counsel, had presented his case.
Baird gave Zinter time to secure new legal representation, which Zinter suggested would be K.S. Garcha, a lawyer from Burnaby. Baird stood down court until this past Monday in order for Garcha to appear. However, Garcha told the court, via phone, that he hadn’t been retained by Zinter and wouldn’t be taking the case, according to Baird.
Baird stated for the record that the Crown gave Zinter all documentary evidence related to the trial and Baird gave Zinter until today in order for Zinter to review the evidence.
In the courtroom Thursday, Barber told the court that Zinter had sent him e-mail correspondence and every indication was that he would appear in court.
At 10:25 a.m. Thursday, Baird issued the warrant and also ordered court sheriffs to arrest Zinter if he is found in or around the courthouse.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the warrant compels any police officer in B.C. to look for him, arrest him and bring him “forthwith” to court.