(News Bulletin file)

(News Bulletin file)

Closing arguments complete in trial of Nanaimo man representing self in fatal crash case

Judge expected to render decision Monday, July 23 at B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Closing arguments concluded this afternoon, in the trial of a man representing himself in a dangerous driving causing death case, with the accused, maintaining his innocence.

Dustin Dennis Zinter, 40 when he was charged November 2016, was involved in a head-on collision on Yellow Point Road on Nov. 10, 2015, where Heidi Barbara Plato, 51 of Ladysmith, was killed. He is pleading not guilty to charges of failing to remain at the scene of an accident, dangerous death causing death and failure to provide a breath or blood samples. Zinter had been represented by Stephen Taylor, but fired him on June 22, after Nick Barber, Crown counsel, had finished presenting his case. Ultimately, Zinter chose to represent himself.

Barber began his closing argument July 13 and finished his summation Friday. Zinter had previously disputed the accident reconstruction report and said he did his own analysis, but Barber asked B.C. Supreme Court Judge Robin Baird not to put any weight on that, as Barber said there had been no factual basis provided and Zinter had only made assertions. When RCMP accident reconstructionist, Amanda Curwin, had testified earlier, Barber said, Zinter never voiced objection through Taylor.

Barber also cited Curwin’s job experience, referring to her as a “properly qualified expert,” and pointed out that Zinter hadn’t challenged her qualifications.

Zinter’s closing argument consisted of material that had been broached during his testimony. He insisted that Plato had a front light on her Toyota pickup truck that was burned out. He said elongated filaments meant a light was working and a non elongated filament meant it wasn’t working.

Zinter testified that Plato had veered into his lane, leading to the accident, but when Baird questioned him about why the vehicles were in Plato’s lane, Zinter said he did “long version math for hours” and said it had to do with “kinetic energy.” He said impact points on the road, as referred to in the reconstruction report, were actually potholes.

Zinter also again questioned the state of Plato’s tires and Baird pointed out that Roger Williams, a mechanic who testified, had said the tires were in good order and mechanical defects were not a factor.

During his testimony, Zinter said he drank a bottle of whisky after the accident and when Baird questioned him about that Friday, Zinter said he was looking for a smoke and the bottle of whisky was there. Zinter had testified that he was going for cigarettes at the time of the accident.

Baird will render his ruling on Monday, July 23.


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