Skip to comments.Police consider charges against survivor of deadly B.C. avalanche
Posted on 01/02/2008 8:32:26 PM PST by Clive
WHISTLER, B.C. - RCMP in Whistler, B.C. are considering laying charges against the only man who survived a deadly avalanche New Year's Day.
RCMP Const. Graham Morgan said the two men went right past a permanent sign warning of closed terrain on the popular ski hill.
"We are investigating the potential for criminal charges, of criminal negligence, based on the fact that they...clearly they went into an area that was permanently closed."
Police believe the men triggered the avalanche in a remote and dangerous area away from the regular, groomed ski runs.
Both men were swept over a cliff by the wall of snow.
The 29-year-old skier was killed, while the 21-year-old snowboarder was badly injured.
Morgan said the surviving man who may face charges remains in hospital.
Police aren't yet releasing the name of the other man.
The consideration of charges against someone in an avalanche situation such as this is a change in policy, but Morgan said the seriousness of this accident and other recent cases shows people aren't listening to warnings.
"We just gathering witnesses statements and probably will be proceeding with a report to Crown counsel and they will decide if it meets the criteria for charges under the Criminal Code," he said.
The avalanche happened just one day after the B.C. Coroner's Service issued a warning urging backcountry skiers, snowmobilers and others to use extreme caution in mountain terrain because of the high risk of avalanche.
Two men were killed Christmas Eve while snowmobiling at a lake near 108 Mile Ranch in the B.C. Interior.
The group of four were digging themselves out of one snow slide when a second, much larger, avalanche rolled over the group.
Here are the Criminal Code sections:
219(1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. (2) For the purposes of this section, "duty" means a duty imposed by law.
220. Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
221. Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
The mere breach of a regulatory offense is not per se criminal negligence.
The death or bodily injury must be to anotherperson.
The conduct must disclose wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Both the deceased and the survivor were adults, able to choose for themselves whether to run the risk of passing that sign. There were no "others" put at risk.
Triggering an avalanche might have criminal consequences if it caused bodily harm or property damage and it might be public mischief if it put the police or emergency services to trouble and expense but those are different crimes.
And the mere passing of the sign might be a breach of a regulatory statute but that would be a summary conviction regulatory offense.
In Britain, they ought to just club any pedestrians on the street, because if you are British you are a criminal...
I take it from your comment that such a posting in an avalanche prone area would be deemed to be "unconstitutional" or otherwise repugnant as "socialism" in the US.
More prrof that no matter what, you can’t fix stupid.
Over a hundred people a year die annually in the Alps with this "off-piste" bravado, most of them crazy Brits. They "assume the risk" and deserve the Darwin Award, whatever the outcome. Trust the Canadians to try to criminalize survival.
No expert on Canadian law, but going into the closed area could be a trespass, which would be a violation of a legal duty not to enter. Illegal entry plus death of the co-criminal may be enough to support a prosecution - something along the lines of the common law misdemeanor manslaughter rule.
No, it’s more like criminalizing behavior that can kill other people.
An avalanche is no minor matter. People who go into areas marked off for risk of avalanche have to know that what they’re doing has the potential to kill people and destroy property. No one has the right to put others at risk like that. It should be criminal.
It’s just fortunate that most of the time the idiots themselves buy it.
One Mile Vertical
38 lifts . . .
. . .can carry 61,000 skiers per HOUR
81 THOUSAND acres of terrain
The brand new peak to peak gondola. . . .
. . . ...but it wasn't enough
socialist prosecute the dead... so why stop with the injured?
I didn’t read the full article, but I DO know for a fact that the area these IDIOTS went into has been CLOSED for almost TWENTY YEARS because of the difficulty in keeping it safe.
I’m no atheist, but DARWIN’s LAW was most definitely at work here.
Yes, the surviving MORON has earned the privilege of living off MY dime for the rest of his life, the way laws are today.
If I had it MY way, he’d be destitute and beholden to the public purse for every penny he earned until his rescue costs were repaid plus 10%. If he were incapable of working, he should be in extreme pain, and covered in suppurating boils until his demise.
The same goes for illegals, too. GTFO.
You should move to Red-communist Canada.... oh, you already live there.... sorry.
Sort of like prosecuting those who attempt suicide...
Injured, as in accidentally?
Hardly an unavoidable accident, in this case.
Do you have any idea how much these rescue operations cost?
How am I a socialist for not wanting to have money stolen from me to pay for this guys poor judgement?
From your home page, Porterville
Gee, Porterville, you seem to like some red communist countries.
Your logic is typical euro-leaning.
What a stupid comparison.
Nothing to be sorry for. I love Canada. And Yes, people should be held accountable for their actions, and poor judgement. This poor decision put lives at risk. Not just their own, but others.
Do you think that that is okay? Should anyone be allowed to disregard warnings and do as they please? And not be held accountable for the results of their stupidity, and arrogance?
Red Communist Canada? LOL. Well that’s a new one. Coming from one who should know?......better?
Do you think? LOL
Happy New Year fanfan. And thanks for the pings.
Ordinarily I'd just say let it go, he's been through enough, but if this is true then they probably have to do something. A loss of money is more terrifying to some people than loss of life, especially thrill seekers.
You've got it exactly backwards. Socialists are those that favor taxpayer's bearing the burden for the rescue of this idiot. Non-socialists are those of you that don't believe a person should bear individual responsibility for his actions.
Happy New Year fanfan. And thanks for the pings.
Happy New Year Lily!
The pings are my pleasure. :-)
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