VICTIM’S FATHER SAYS NEW DOCUMENTS CONTRADICT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR’S VERSION OF EVENTS IN THE BRYANT / SHEPPARD CASE
For Immediate Release
Toronto, ON 21 May 2013 ─ The father of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard (known to friends as “Al”) says he has obtained documents that contradict Special Prosecutor Richard Peck’s explanation of circumstances surrounding Sheppard (Jr.)’s death and Peck’s decision to drop criminal charges against Michael Bryant three years ago.
Mr. Bryant had been charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death after an August 31, 2009 incident involving Sheppard (Jr.).
“I reluctantly accepted that decision,” Sheppard (Sr.) says. “Given the circumstances and my son’s background, getting a conviction would have been difficult. But I emphatically reject Mr. Peck’s explanation of his decision. Information obtained through freedom of information access does not—and cannot—support the exoneration implicitly given to Mr. Bryant by Mr. Peck. The documents say my son and Mr. Bryant were both responsible for what happened.”
“It took years longer than I expected to get information through FOI,” Sheppard (Sr.), 75, adds. “But now that I have been successful, I am amazed—shocked might be a better word—at the degree to which some of the new material challenges Mr. Peck’s version of events.”
Sheppard (Sr.) says Peck ignores or rejects a Toronto Police Service collision reconstruction report that concludes Bryant and Sheppard were both responsible for his son’s death and dismisses statements from 19 witnesses, some of them sworn, that suggest or state that Bryant was at least as aggressive as Sheppard (Jr.).
An “Executive Summary” of Peck’s statement was the main source for media coverage of Peck’s decision. It describes evidence supporting Peck’s decision as “objective and credible.”
“Mr. Peck attributes huge swaths of supporting evidence to Mr. Bryant and his wife, Susan Abramovitch,” Sheppard (Sr.) notes. “There is no common definition of ‘objective’ that would apply to any testimony from an accused person or his wife. Nor is there any responsible use of ‘credible,’ in a judicial context, to describe testimony that is not given under oath or subject to cross-examination.
“The evidence of Mr. Bryant and his wife, and most or all of the witness and expert testimony used by Mr. Peck in his statement, was not sworn or cross-examined. That does not mean anyone lied; it does mean such evidence cannot be accepted as unchallengeable truth. Yet that is what Mr. Peck and Mr. Sandler did, and what they persuaded me, the media, and the public to do. Thanks to the new documents I now have, I am no longer persuaded.”
Sheppard (Sr.) says the latitude taken by Peck and Sandler, was excessive; the liberties they took invite questions whether Peck’s explanation is “objective and credible.”
Allan Sheppard (Sr.) will be available for interviews in Toronto – May 23 to 31. He will be available for interviews in person and by telephone in Thornhill – June 1 to June 9.
A Justice for Al; Justice for All rally will be held at Old City Hall, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013, the third anniversary of the dropping of charges in the death of Darcy Allan “Al” Sheppard.