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Defence presenting case in Doug McCallum’s public mischief trial in Surrey

Lawyer Eric Gottardi said evidence tendered by the defence will show McCallum’s foot was ‘in fact’ run over by Deborah Johnstone’s tire on Sept. 4, 2021
Doug McCallum going through security at Surrey provincial court in Surrey. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Doug McCallum’s defence began its case Wednesday morning (Nov. 2) in Surrey provincial court with a declaration that Crown’s evidence falls “markedly short” of the criminal standard of proof for a public mischief charge.

Lawyer Eric Gottardi said evidence tendered by the defence will show McCallum’s foot was “in fact” run over by Deborah Johnstone’s tire on Sept. 4, 2021.

The former Surrey mayor is charged with one count of public mischief, stemming from an encounter on Sept. 4, 2021 between himself and a group of volunteers that was gathering petition signatures outside the South Point Save-On-Foods store in South Surrey for a referendum on the policing transition. He is accused of misleading police.

The first of two expert witnesses the defence called Wednesday was Dennis Chimich, a biomechanical engineer and expert in injury causation.

Chimich told the court Johnstone’s Mustang was moving slowly through the parking lot and he determined there was a mass of 413 kilograms over her right rear wheel. He submitted a report on the matter on Oct. 17, 2022, the court heard.

Chimich testified the vehicle “rolled over” his foot while McCallum was “relatively” standing still and that feet can be run over by vehicle tires resulting in no fractures.

“Bone injuries are not to be expected at low speed,” he said. The absense of fractures in McCallum’s case “does not mean that his foot was not run over.”

He brought out a skeleton foot model in court as a visual aid.

They discussed a journal called “Foot and Ankle International,” which drew some chuckles from the gallery.

READ ALSO: ‘It looked like she just purposely wanted to clip me,’ McCallum told police

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP had 7-member team on McCallum’s foot injury allegation, court hears

READ ALSO: Surrey woman testifies about ‘heated debate’ that led to Doug McCallum’s public mischief charge

During cross examination, Chimich told special prosecutor Richard Fowler that he did not calculate horizontal acceleration but “used mass as my guide” for vertical force. He did not know the state of the tire’s inflation, he said. Nor did he examine McCallum’s footware.

“I did see pictures of the shoes, I did not physically examine them,” Chimich told the court.

Fowler asked him what minimal force is required to cause visible injuries on a foot inside a sock and shoe.

“I don’t know,” Chimich replied.

The defence’s next expert witness, Bradley Heinrichs, is a mechanical engineer and expert in accident reconstruction and video analysis.

A frame-by-frame review of CCTV footage from the grocery store shows McCallum’s arm “jerk back” as the tire passes, Heinrich noted. He said he went to the scene and used a laser scanner to create a 3-D scan of the parking lot, which was shown in court.

Heinrichs said the video was not capable of telling him if there was a limp or change in McCallum’s gait after the incident.

“I couldn’t tell,” he said.

A third witness for the defence, radiologist Dr. Hamed Basseri, works at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock. He testified he found no X-ray evidence of a fracture in McCallum’s left foot but found “moderate” soft-tissue swelling on the outside of the foot “toward the small toe.”

During cross-examination, Basseri told Fowler he never physically observed McCallum’s foot and did not observe any X-ray of the right foot. He told the court he was not able to say if there was swelling on the day before or earlier.

“That’s correct,” he told the court.

The trial continues on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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