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Final submissions made in trial of Nanaimo mother who lost sons in fatal crash

Feb 22 2012

NANAIMO — The death of two young boys in a car crash was due to a series of unfortunate events, not the result of dangerous or impaired driving by their mother, according to defence lawyer Bert King.

The defence and prosecutors made final arguments in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo Tuesday in the trial of Clare Suzanne Bekkers. The Nanaimo mother faces charges of impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She was the driver of a vehicle in a crash on Dec. 22, 2008 that killed her two sons and injured her two daughters.

King based his argument on testimony from Bekkers' father and her in-laws, all of whom saw her driving in Victoria and who hugged her on the morning of the crash, and said there was no indication that Bekkers was drunk or high. The three said they would not have let her drive with their grandchildren in her car if they had any idea that she was not fit. King encouraged Justice Doug Halfyard to decide that an anti-depressant had no effect on her and that it should not be considered a factor.

King suggested the crash near the Cassidy Inn, south of Nanaimo, in which Bekkers' Ford Escape shot across four lanes of traffic, was caused by black ice.

Crown prosecutor Frank Dubenski said Bekkers drove too fast for the conditions, was not able to respond appropriately to those wintery road conditions, and that part of the reason was her hungover state due to previous use of cocaine and alcohol.

Other drivers slowed down, adjusting to winter conditions and slippery roads, Dubenski said. Bekkers couldn't recall anything about the environment she was driving in, which suggested she was oblivious to her surroundings, he said.

Dubenski suggested that if Bekkers is found not guilty of the causing death charges, that she be found guilty of straight dangerous driving due to the aggressive nature she exhibited.

Halfyard will return with a verdict on March 30.

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