Trial set for driver in Moncton crash that killed 3 college students

·2 min read
Three people died after a single-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton in 2019. (Wade Perry/Twitter - image credit)
Three people died after a single-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton in 2019. (Wade Perry/Twitter - image credit)

A man charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths of three college students in Moncton two years ago is scheduled to stand trial in June 2022.

Saumil Prashantkumar Shah is facing six charges, three of dangerous driving causing death and three of causing death by criminal negligence.

Shah previously elected to be tried by judge and jury.

On Monday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dysart scheduled a 15-day trial starting June 20, 2022.

Dysart pointed out the trial would be one month from the 30-month ceiling for cases to be tried, a timeline set out in a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Exceeding that time frame would mean the defence could apply for the charges to be dropped based on a violation of the accused's right to be tried in a reasonable time.

Trial could be held earlier

The judge said the trial dates are tentative and could be moved up, depending on whether the outcome of a separate trial opens up court time in April 2022.

"If we have an option to offer him an earlier trial dates, the court will do that," Dysart said.

Crown prosecutor Jessica Lavoie and defence lawyer Alex Pate agreed to return to court in July this year to see if Shah's trial can be held earlier.

A pre-trial hearing was also scheduled for Feb. 16. A voir dire, held to determine admissibility of evidence, was scheduled for March 14, 15 and 16 of 2022.

Shah was not present in court Monday.

The charges stem from a crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton near the Shediac Road exit at around 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2019.

A Subaru Outback heading east on the divided highway rolled and landed in the median, RCMP said after the crash.

Four of the five people in the vehicle were students from India who were studying at the New Brunswick Community College campus in Saint John.

Shah, the driver, was described at the time as working at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John and is a permanent resident.

RCMP said two men, both 24 years old, and a third, 29, were ejected from rear seats during the crash. Two died at the scene, while a third died in hospital. A passenger in the front seat survived.

In a news release, RCMP said the preliminary investigation indicated speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Amit Tamrakar, president of the Indo-Canadian Society of Saint John, told CBC News after the crash that the five had just visited Magnetic Hill and were on their way to Parlee Beach.

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