Michael Bryant has been appointed the executive director and general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The former attorney general of Ontario, who in 2009 was at the wheel of his vehicle when he was involved in an altercation with courier Darcy Allan Sheppard resulting in the cyclists death, spoke to CBC Radio on Thursday.
On August 31, 2009, Bryant was driving home from an anniversary dinner with his wife on Bloor Street in Toronto. On his way home he got into an altercation with Sheppard who worked as a bicycle courier and was 33-years-old at the time. During the incident, Sheppard ended up on the hood of Bryant’s Saab, Bryant backed up and tried to drive away. Sheppard held onto the side of the vehicle striking a mailbox and tree before falling and fatally hitting his head on the pavement.
Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. In 2010, the crown withdrew all criminal charges against Bryant in the death of Sheppard with the prosecutor concluding there was, “no reasonable prospect of conviction.” In 2012, Bryan wrote a book about Sheppard’s death called 28 Seconds.
On Thursday, in an interview with CBC Radio’s Metro Morning in a series of ‘Do-Overs’ stories, Bryant spoke about his life following Sheppard’s death.
One of our community members and beloved friends, Michael Bryant, shares his "do-over" and the role Sanctuary… https://t.co/n18f7GnhHM
— Sanctuary Toronto (@SanctuaryTO) January 11, 2018
“I had been putting off the ‘now what’ and wondering what the do-over would look like,” Bryant said on CBC Radio. “Therein began the process of overthinking and not doing the ‘doing’ part of the do-over.”
Bryant, who was CEO of Invest Toronto at the time of Sheppard’s death, became involved with the Sanctuary which serves Toronto’s homeless from a church in downtown.
“I ended up somewhere I did not expect to go,” Bryant said. “I ended up in there through a series of events and found myself connecting and identifying with people, and learning from people who I had previously not identified with and frankly been afraid of.”
Through the Sanctuary, Bryant began representing people in bail court who didn’t have a lawyer. “While I was having this existential debate in my head about what I should be doing and what the do-over looks like, I had people from Sanctuary coming up to me and saying, ‘Look I’ve been charged. I need some assistance,'” he said. “This is a group of people who need assistance and need to have their rights protected and that is my job.”
Bryant who has considerable legal experience working for law firms and as the youngest attorney general of Ontario says he continues to live with the repurcusions of Sheppard’s death. “That’s something that is just with me all the time,” he said. “He was a human being and he lost his life and that’s something I can’t undo and can’t go back, so what can I do today? That’s how I’m living.”
Listen to the full interview at CBC News.