Meady v. Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp., 2015
On December 23, 2000, then 21-year-old Shaun Davis boarded a
Greyhound bus in northern Ontario heading east from Calgary to
spend Christmas with family in Nova Scotia.
About an hour into the trip, Davis left his seat to stand in the
stairwell next to the bus driver. Davis requested that the driver
stop because he thought some people on the bus wanted to hurt him.
Davis was told to return to his seat by the bus driver, but ignored
these requests. Then Davis lunged at the driver and grabbed the
The bus veered off the road and toppled onto its side. One
person was killed and many of the 32 passengers were injured.
The passengers sued Davis, the bus driver, Greyhound, and two
police officers who had interacted with Davis before he boarded
this bus. Davis had met with police at the bus stop before the
accident, stating that he was worried that people were trying to
After a 60 day trial, the trial judge dismissed the action
against all defendants other than Davis.
The passengers appealed, saying that the trial judge made a
mistake in excluding the evidence of two experts - the first being
a specialist in police training, and the second being an expert in
The passengers argued that the police expert would have shown
that competent police officers, upon noting that Davis was
delusional or agitated, would have kept him off of the bus.
Meanwhile, the bus safety expert would have demonstrated that a
prudent driver, upon noting Davis standing close to him and in an
agitated state, would have reduced his speed, perhaps avoiding this
The Justices of the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the
passengers' appeal, and upheld the decision of the trial judge,
who found that these experts were not needed to assist the trial
judge in reaching his verdict.
Unnecessary expert evidence can be distracting, and where the
conduct and duties of the police officers and the bus driver could
be understood by the trial judge without expert assistance, the
trial judge was within his rights to exclude evidence and rely upon
his own understanding of the facts.
The standards required of a police officer when encountering a
distressed individual were presented through training manuals at
trial. Likewise, Greyhound's training standards, practices and
procedures were also presented at trial.
This being the case, the trial judge could come to his own
findings on whether the police and the bus driver acted
appropriately. The trial decision was upheld and only judgement
against Davis was entered.
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