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Saskatoon judge to make ruling on evidence in fatal THC-impaired driving case

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A Saskatoon Provincial Court judge will determine whether testimony from a woman, charged with impaired driving causing the death of a child, will be used as evidence in her trial.

Nine-year-old Baeleigh Maurice was on her way to school on Sept. 9, 2021, pushing her scooter at a 33rd Street West crosswalk, when she was struck by Taylor Kennedy’s truck.

Kennedy is charged with impaired driving, exceeding the prescribed blood-drug concentration of THC, causing death.

At the crash scene, Kennedy told officers she smoked weed and micro-dosed magic mushrooms the day before.

On Friday, Kennedy’s lawyer Thomas Hynes argued her admission to drug consumption was a “compelled statement”. He said officers told her she had to “give information to police” before she was read her rights.

“This was the epitome of no free choice,” he said.

Earlier this week Kennedy took the stand in a voir dire, a hearing to determine if the evidence will be used in trial. She testified she admitted to drug consumption because she thought it was “the law."

Hynes said police “entirely changed course” when Kennedy admitted to using drugs because it changed from a traffic safety investigation to a criminal investigation.

While Hynes made his argument, a member of the gallery stood up and said it wasn’t a criminal investigation because Baeleigh ‘wasn’t dead yet’, and told Hynes to “f*cking get it right” before leaving the courtroom.

Crown prosecutor Michael Pilon said calling it a compelled statement is a stretch. He said officers never told Kennedy she was required to answer their questions.

“That was never the evidence,” he said.

Pilon said officers told her it was important for her to share information so they can “relay that to the people trying to save Baeleigh’s life."

He said Kennedy admitted to using drugs without being prompted by police.

“Both officers denied asking her about drugs,” he said.

Pilon said Kennedy’s testimony should not be accepted because it is “not believable."

He argued Kennedy gave police information, because “she knew it was her fault” and she wanted to help Baeleigh. He said everything she did after the crash was because of her experience with Katie-her friend who died in a hit and run years prior.

“She was not going to let Baeleigh become another Katie,” he said.

The judge has reserved her decision on this matter. The case has been adjourned until Wednesday morning.

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