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Preliminary inquiry in fatal motorcycle crash scheduled for June

May 25 2012

A preliminary inquiry to investigate charges in connection with the death of a motorcyclist on the TransCanada Highway on Canada Day will be held next month.

Tracy Dawn Smith, 35, is charged with impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death. Jana Mahenthiran, a 47-year-old information technologist, was killed when his motorcycle was struck by Smith's Lexus between Spencer and Goldstream roads.

The inquiry is set for June 19 and 20 in Western Communities provincial court.

On Thursday, after a trial confirmation hearing, Smith's lawyer, Bob Jones, said the inquiry will be an opportunity to assess the strength of the Crown's case.

"My client has little recollection of the day in question," Jones said. "I think when you're involved in a tragic accident and death ensues, the body defences come into operation and your memory shuts down. My client was in a fragile mental state at the time. I'm hoping that hearing the evidence of the witnesses will assist her in triggering her recollection of the events."

Jones wants to hear the evidence of civilians who saw Smith driving and witnessed the accident and of police officers who dealt with her at the time.

The defence lawyer has told the Crown he is prepared to make admissions with respect to medical evidence, and that Smith owned the Lexus involved in the crash and was driving the car.

Mahenthiran moved to Victoria about 18 months before his death.

A small group of motorcyclists has shown up for all of Smith's court appearances, including the one on Thursday.

Alison Smith, spokeswoman for the informal group, said she had received an email from

Mahenthiran's widow, Betty, on Wednesday thanking the riders for their continued presence.

"She said this is a long journey for her and part of her healing process. It really means a lot to her for us to be here," she said.

More motorcyclists are expected to attend the preliminary inquiry, Smith said.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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