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Conception Bay South man pleads not guilty to charges related to snowmobile death at Humber Valley Resort

Thomas Whittle is seen in the provincial court in Corner Brook in this June 2019 file photo.
Thomas Whittle is seen in the provincial court in Corner Brook in this June 2019 file photo. - SaltWire File Photo
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

Thomas Whittle was given until Oct. 7 to secure legal counsel. The Conception Bay South man was told his trial dates will be set then even if he doesn’t have a lawyer.

Whittle, 28, appeared by phone in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Sept. 9. As with many of his past provincial court appearances, he did so without the assistance of a lawyer.

Whittle is charged with four offences stemming from a Feb. 19, 2017 snowmobile accident at Humber Valley Resort that resulted in the death of 21-year-old Justyn Pollard of St. John’s.

Whittle was allegedly driving the snowmobile on which Pollard was a passenger when it collided with a taxi on the bridge to the resort. Pollard died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Whittle entered not guilty pleas to the charges — impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing death with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding 80 milligrams, dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving by drug causing death — during the recent appearance.

Crown attorney Lori St. Croix said Whittle indicated numerous times in provincial court that he intends to get a lawyer, but has not done so. She noted he once had legal counsel, but that person made successful application to withdraw.

St. Croix expects the Crown will call 15 to 18 witnesses, and said a significant amount of trial time might be required if Whittle was self-represented. He has elected to be tried by judge and jury. 

It was suggested that up to two weeks would be necessary and with the court schedule already filling up for the spring of 2020 Whittle’s trial is likely to be set for fall 2020. 

Justice George Murphy told Whittle he was being given one last chance to obtain legal counsel and advised him to take every step possible to do so by Oct. 7.

Twitter: @WS_DianeCrocker


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