As a self-represented defendant in her BC Supreme Court criminal trial, when Linnea Labbee took the witness stand in her own defence this week, it amounted to a monologue.
With no defence counsel to direct questions to Labbee, she simply took the court through her version of events on the day that 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian was killed in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Mary Street and Patten Avenue on Dec. 1, 2016.
The 73-year-old Labbee is charged with one count of failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm for the incident that killed “Farouk”, as she was called by those who knew her.
The trial scheduled for 24 days began on March 8.
“I never drove the truck that day,” Labbee said on the witness stand in her first statement of the day in court on March 23, day 11 of the trial. Her statement was to Justice Brenda Brown, summing up her final words from the day prior.
Labbee then described her actions that day in great detail in and around Southgate Shopping Centre where she said she was visiting various stores with friends. She also complained about her treatment by police when she was arrested on Hope River Road two-and-a-half hours later.
“When (the officer) put me in the police car I hit my head,” she said. “It hurt along my temple.”
Labbee said she was brought to the police station where a female officer searched her. She said they tried to pry her ring off “and really hurt my finger.”
Labbee also testified that the officer interviewing her was turning the recorder on and off in between questions.
“He would turn it off and make some sarcastic remarks, then ask another question.”
After she was released, Labbee told Justice Brown that she was subject to ongoing “harassment” by an RCMP officer who was tracking her.
“There was one point where they followed us through a Tim Hortons drive-thru then over to Walmart,” she said.
“It was very uncomfortable to have this guy following us around.”
On the first day of the trial, Crown counsel Joe Saulnier outlined the prosecution’s theory, that Labbee was driving the truck southbound on Mary Street, struck Farouk in the crosswalk at Patten, drove over her, stopped for a moment before leaving the scene.
“The Crown will argue the accused knew bodily harm was caused and left the scene to avoid liability.”
A piece of her truck was found at the scene, as was the victim’s DNA on a wheel well. Witnesses could not positively identify Labbee specifically as the driver, but they said an older woman with grey hair was behind the wheel.
And while Labbee said she was at Southgate all morning that day, Crown has evidence of a bank withdrawal from Labbee’s CIBC bank account on the corner of Princess Avenue and Young Road just a few blocks away and 10 minutes before Farouk was hit.
See www.theprogress.com for updates on the trial in the coming days.
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