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  • Writer's pictureDave Shellnutt


Dave Shellnutt


June 3, 2024


Hon. Douglas Downey

Minister of the Attorney General

720 Bay St., 11th Floor

Toronto, ON M7A 2S9


Re: A Dangerous Precedent


On July 19, 2023, during a road rage incident Yurii Karpenko used his vehicle to run down a cyclist at Yonge and Ranleigh Streets in Toronto. Many news networks covered the shocking story and video.


Now almost a year later, without any consultation with the injured cyclist, the prosecutor and defence counsel for Mr. Karpenko have agreed to a guilty plea for “Dangerous Driving”. Our client was never consulted at any step. On the eve of the plea deal he was asked to provide a victim impact statement. Farsi translator was not offered by the prosecutor for that or for his attendance at today's court proceeding. Only Toronto Police offered any support (as they have done so throughout).


We understand there will be no jail time for the perpetrator. What is jointly proposed is only a conditional sentence and 2-year driving “probation”.


The Biking Lawyer LLP represents the cyclist in a civil action for his injury claims against Mr. Karpenko. In that process, we reviewed the video footage of the incident and spoke to witnesses. We are concerned that more serious and additional charges were not advanced despite overwhelming evidence of the intentional nature of the assault.


Make no mistake - this was assault with a weapon. That weapon was a motor vehicle weighing several thousand pounds and moving with incredible velocity.


6 days after this incident, video footage captured a Toronto Police bike cop hit by a fleeing motorist. In that case, offenders were charged with 8 counts including dangerous operation causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon. Should not a civilian similarly targeted receive the same push for justice and deterrence?


Given the video evidence in this case, why the following charges were not advanced against the driver we suspect will give pause to members of the cycling community and those concerned with road safety:

  • Criminal Negligence – Section 219

  • Assault/Assault Causing Bodily Harm – Section 267

  • Assault with a Weapon – Section 267 (This includes using the vehicle itself as a weapon)

It is troubling that a person who used a motor vehicle to harm another person is being given a slap on the wrist.


We are deeply concerned about the message being sent here:

  1. If you use a vehicle as a weapon, you will not face the kind of deterring penalty or justice one would expect in other assault cases.

  2. The safety of vulnerable road users is not significantly important enough to take a strong public stand against violence on our roads.

  3. It is not a serious breach of public order to use your motor vehicle to purposely run over another human.

Our experience is that plea deals and dropped charges are a frequent symptom of our current systems of prosecution of road violence cases. We call upon your office to review this matter, the prosecution of road violence cases involving vulnerable road users and their outcomes broadly, and finally to send a strong message that road violence, dangerous driving, and behaviour on our roadways that leads to death or injury will be met with a strong public rebuke and penalty.


Kind Regards,


Dave Shellnutt

Lawyer & Advocate


Cc: City Officials, TPS and community stakeholders.

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Eddy Smith
Eddy Smith
Jun 16

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