Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Jury deliberates at Robert Major dangerous driving and criminal negligence trial

A seven-man, five-woman jury began deliberating at the Robert Major trial in Saskatoon Thursday afternoon.

The accused was the driver of a Dodge Ram pickup that collided with a semi-truck at the intersection of Range Road 3083 and Highway 16 on Feb. 22, 2016. During trial, Major said he was looking for a stop sign moments before the crash happened.

Major’s girlfriend, 26-year-old Kimberly Oliverio died in the collision, along with two of his sons: Theodore Cardinal, 9, and Brenden Major, 4.

The driver faces three counts each of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The jury also has the option to convict Major of a simple charge of dangerous driving.

Crown prosecutor Michael Pilon argued Major’s actions and omissions caused the crash, saying the driver chose to speed in the dark on a slippery road, while overloaded with seven unbelted occupants.

During trial, Major denied an allegation that he was using a cell phone prior to the crash.

According to the defence, the collision never would have happened if the stop sign had not been knocked down at the corner of the grid road and Highway 16.

During closing arguments, defence lawyer Mark Brayford suggested others were negligent – potentially, the rural municipality or the Saskatchewan government.

The role the stop sign played is the subject of a lawsuit the jury never heard about.

Major sought $180,000 in general damages from the Saskatchewan government.

A May 2017 statement of claim filed on Major’s behalf stated there was no stop sign marking the intersection at the time of the crash.

In its statement of defence, the provincial government said the stop sign’s absence didn’t cause the crash – Major’s “carelessness, recklessness or negligence” did.

Major’s criminal trial saw six days of testimony from 17 witnesses.

-With files from Rebekah Lesko

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