CASE LAW - R v Griffith
On the 19th of August, 2013 Christopher Griffith stopped his vehicle in the parking lot of the Royal Canadian Legion on 106 Avenue in Surrey, B.C. He became involved in an altercation with people present in the parking lot. Matters escalated to the point that these people advanced on his vehicle brandishing weapons and Mr. Griffith feared serious harm to himself, his passenger and his vehicle. He accelerated quickly away, crossing an adjacent vacant lot and departing northbound on 135A Street.
Unfortunately, Robert Patterson was walking across that vacant lot. He was struck by the Griffith vehicle and died.
Mr. Griffith drove the truck to a location approximately six blocks away. He parked it on the side of the street and essentially abandoned it there. He and his companion caught a cab back into the general vicinity of the area where the earlier event had occurred. Approximately one hour and 40 minutes after the collision, police officers became aware of Mr. Griffith's involvement and he was taken into custody.
He was charged with two counts under the Criminal Code, criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death and failing to return to the scene of a collision and offer assistance. At trial, he was convicted of both counts, demonstrating the very high onus on a driver to return and offer assistance even in the situation where there is significant risk to the driver to do so.