A man accused of impaired driving in an incident that caused the deaths of two Prince Albert women has been released on bail.
The case relates to a two-vehicle collision that took place on Sunday, July 14 at the intersection of 28th Street and 12th Avenue. The driver of one vehicle, 21-year-old Taylor Litwin, was pronounced dead at the scene, while her passenger, 17-year-old Brandy Lepine, later died of her injuries at a Saskatoon hospital.
Lepine was six months pregnant at the time. Her baby, Aurora Ledoux, was delivered prior to her death at a Saskatoon hospital and remains in serious condition.
The driver of the other vehicle sustained minor injuries and was charged following the collision.
The bail hearing of the accused took place on Wednesday morning at Prince Albert Provincial Court, where the Crown argued that the accused should not be released on secondary and tertiary grounds.
In legal terminology, secondary grounds for denying bail involve a risk that the client will re-offend, while tertiary grounds suggest that the administration of justice may be brought into disrepute if the defendant is released.
“My client had no criminal record (and) had a solid release plan,” defence counsel Ron Piché said on Thursday.
“His former employer, the Prince Albert Grand Council, was continuing to hold his job. He had a place to reside and he had also been approved for electronic monitoring … The release plan really addressed any concerns that the Crown had.
“The fact that my client didn’t have a criminal record certainly meant that there was no real significant risk of re-offending. That’s usually left for individuals who have very lengthy criminal records or who have been out on bail and re-offended.”
Judge M. Baniak ruled on Thursday that the accused qualified to be released on bail. The accused will next appear in provincial court on Thursday, Sept. 12, during which time legal representatives will set a date for a preliminary hearing.
The release plan really addressed any concerns that the Crown had. Ron Piché
The judge attached numerous conditions to the bail. While on release, the accused may not consume alcohol or speak to certain individuals such as potential witnesses in the case.
Save for work purposes, he will be confined to his residence and monitored electronically throughout the release period. The accused must also provide a breath sample upon demand.
Baniak required the accused to post $2,000 cash bail.
“His family members had made arrangements to have the cash available,” Piché said. “They were going to post it as soon as we got the decision, so I suspect that’s been done and I suspect he’s already gone.”
At this juncture, Piché has largely completed his review of the evidence, which includes material ranging from accident reconstruction reports to witness statements.
For the next three weeks, his legal team will be busy preparing for the next court appearance of the accused.
“At that time, we intend on making our election,” Piché said. “We would be electing at Court of Queen’s Bench. We’d be setting this matter down for a preliminary inquiry.
“In the meantime, we’re going to try to see how long we would need and how many witnesses, which witnesses, whether we can shorten the proceedings in some way and get really to the more critical issues, and all that hopefully will happen in the next three weeks.”
Piché suspects that the preliminary hearing will take place in late fall or early next year. The trial itself may not arrive until later in 2014.
His client, 21-year-old Prince Albert resident Jeremiah Jobb, is charged with two counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of exceeding .08 causing death.