A 45-year-old father of two arrested in Burnaby last year for impaired driving and dangerous driving while his two young children were in the back of his pickup truck has pleaded not guilty to impaired driving, dangerous driving and failing to stop after hitting another vehicle.
But he has admitted to driving without a licence.
On Jan. 2, 2020, a civilian spotted a pickup moving erratically on Highway 1 and followed it all the way from Langley, according to a Burnaby RCMP news release at the time.
The man called police and gave updates as the truck took the Gaglardi Way off ramp, the release said.
The witness told police he then saw the pickup hit the ditch at Cariboo Road and Gaglardi Way, according to the release.
Police caught up with the suspect vehicle at Eastlake Drive and Beaverbrook Drive, where it had allegedly just been involved in a rear-end collision with another vehicle and then kept driving, according to the release.
Officers followed the pickup and tried to stop it, the release said, but police said the driver continued driving before stopping further down the road in a cul-de-sac at Eastlake Drive.
The driver was arrested, and his two young children were picked up by another family member, according to Burnaby RCMP.
Charges were approved against Brendon Patrick Dean of Ladysmith on May 20, 2020, but it took until this week for him to enter pleas on the charges.
In court, Crown prosecutor Jeff LaPorte accused Dean of “dragging his feet” by not showing up in Vancouver provincial court in person and by saying he had gotten a lawyer when he seems not to have done so.
“He keeps talking about getting counsel but he doesn’t have counsel. Counsel never appears on his behalf,” LaPorte said in court on June 24.
On that day, Dean had phoned in from Ladysmith.
B.C. Provincial Court Judge Patrick Doherty told him he had three choices moving forward, he could plead guilty to the charges at a Vancouver Island courthouse, appear in-person in Vancouver to address the charges or hire a lawyer to appear on his behalf.
Dean, however, said he wasn’t guilty of some of the charges and therefore didn’t want the case moved to Vancouver Island for guilty pleas, but he was having a hard time getting to Vancouver in person because he is prohibited from driving, working fulltime and looking after his two kids – and he can’t afford to hire a lawyer to appear there on his behalf.
“I’ve been doing everything that I can do to become better,” he said.
Doherty warned Dean a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he failed to act on one of the three options he had provided him by his next court date, which Doherty then set for July 15.
But it took three more phone appearances before the court got Dean’s plea over the phone.
He phoned it in again for his latest scheduled “in-person” appearance in front of Vancouver provincial court Judge John Milne Thursday.
LaPorte told Milne Dean was “playing games.”
But Dean denied that and said he, too, wanted to get the matter dealt with.
Milne eventually directed him to enter pleas to the charges and adjourned the matter to Aug. 13, by which time trial dates will have been set.
“If you’re going to retain counsel, you better get on it right away because the matter’s moving ahead now,” Milne said.