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WTF? Ramage Found Guilty

Ex-Maple Leaf captain Rob Ramage was found guilty today of five charges, including being criminally responsible for causing the death of his friend and former Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Keith Magnuson.

Now I have to admit I wasn't in the court room for even one second during the trial. Heck, I haven't been to Newmarket (where the trial was being held) for more than a year. But I have been paying close attention to mainstream media coverage of the trial and if the jury heard the same evidence that I've been getting, it's amazing that pigs aren't flying in the sky today after their verdict was announced.

The Star has a decent roundup today of the evidence presented, and while the reporter (Bob Mitchell) doesn't come out and say it, if you read between the lines he sounds just as surprised at today's outcome.

Here are two of the more important pieces of evidence and arguments the jury had to consider:

1. Tests showed that Ramage had at least two and a half and perhaps nearly four times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood and urine at the time of the collision. Ramage's lawyer, however, suggested these were flawed as a nurse admitted using an alcohol swab and not an approved non-alcohol kit to draw Ramage's blood and urine samples.

2. Nobody saw Ramage with more than a glass of wine and possibly a bottle of beer at the reception before the crash. Yet a toxicologist testified that a person the size and weight of Ramage would have had to consume 15 to 22 beers in the four to five hours he spent at the reception to produce the alcohol level readings between 229 and 292 that the tests showed.

Before the jury started deliberating, the judge was very clear to instruct them that the onus was on the prosecution to prove guilt (meaning, that he was drunk at the time of the accident) rather on the defense to prove his sobriety.

So, what evidence did they possibly agree on that resulted in their decision to convict? And perhaps more importantly, who exactly benefits from a conviction?


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