April 4, 2012
Foreman gets jail time for hitting flagger with truck
A construction foreman was sentenced in B.C. Provincial Court to seven days in jail for assault with a weapon, after hitting a traffic control person (TCP) with his truck on a New Westminster jobsite in 2010.
“The B.C. Flaggers Association is ecstatic and we think the judge has done a very good thing,” said Tammy Sampson, director of operations for BC Road Safe Inc. and co-founder of the B.C. Flaggers Association.
“We believe the justice system has set precedence for drivers in the future to do as the Motor Vehicle Act says and obey the direction of a traffic control person. We are in place for the safety of our crews and that of the travelling public.”
Judge Thomas Woods sentenced Michael Paul Biemans on Mar. 29. Biemans was escorted out of the court room by a sheriff. He also received one year of probation and must hand over samples of DNA, take a mandatory anger management course and write a letter of apology.
Diane Herback, director and co-founder of the B.C. Flagging Association, said the judge spent about an hour talking about how flaggers work under high-risk conditions to protect the public interest.
“In a nutshell, Judge Woods said the criminal justice system is no longer going to tolerate the way motorists treat traffic control people,” she said.
The judge said previous criminal offences by Biemans, such as uttering threats, are relevant to sentencing because there are some similarities to this case.
Biemans’ driving record, which includes driving without reasonable consideration and three licence suspensions, was also considered in sentencing.
Woods noted that Biemans record shows a history of anger and driving issues, as well as a sense of entitlement and being above the law. He also said Biemans did not show any remorse for his actions.
The Crown prosecutor was not asking for jail time, but the judge gave it to him anyway.
Biemans, 43, was found guilty of assault with a weapon for intentionally hitting TCP Paul Whyte with his truck at a construction site in New Westminster, B.C., on Nov. 8, 2010.
Whyte, an employee of B.C. Road Safe, was hired by PW Trenchless Construction to stop traffic from entering the construction zone. Biemans is a foreman with Surrey-based contractor J Cote & Sons Excavating, which was sharing a worksite, but not working on the same project.
According to Whyte’s testimony, he was directing traffic when a J Cote truck driven by Biemans turned from Columbia Street on to Nootka Street through a gap in the cones.
Biemans was swearing and yelling through the driver’s side window for Whyte to get out of his way. He stopped just in front of Whyte, who was in the middle of the road with his stop paddle up.
After the vehicle had stopped, Biemans continued to wave and swear at Whyte.
At one point, Biemans hit the accelerator and quickly slammed on his brakes, which caused the front end of the vehicle to lurch forward and hit Whyte in the knees and stomach.
White was shaken up, but not seriously injured.
Biemans, who represented himself, decided to call one witness in his defence, a TCP with Traffic King and a passenger in his truck at the time of the assault.
However, the judge found irreconcilable differences with that version of events and those presented by Crown prosecution witnesses. He found it not credible.
Biemans did not to take the stand in his own defence.
There was no word if Biemans would appeal the decision.
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