Her Majesty the Queen v. Frédérick Bélanger (February 12, 2012)
Case # 34512
On the evening of October 7, 2007 the respondent was driving west on highway 138 near Baie Comeau. The respondent was accompanied by a friend and had no specific destination.
He was driving behind a pickup truck and decided to pass it even though there was a solid double line on the roadway. About five seconds after he pulled out to pass the pickup, the respondent collided head on with an oncoming vehicle. The oncoming vehicle was driven by the victim, who died instantly. The fatal collision occurred on the shoulder of the highway, as both drivers had instinctively swerved on to it. The respondent was unable to return to his own lane because he was parallel to the pickup he was passing. The collision occurred at a place where passing is still prohibited. The respondent’s friend escaped with a fractured femur, while the respondent injured his ankle. The Court of Quebec convicted the respondent of two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and death. The Quebec Court of Appeal set aside the trial judgment and acquitted the respondent on both counts. The Court claimed the trial judge erred in law by applying the modified objective test for the mens rea of dangerous driving.