MO))) Editor Jun 23, 2022
Larry Lynch Verified #courts

From friends to enemies and back again in 8 seconds flat

Man reports car stolen after deserting friend when fleeing police

At 2 am on November 11, 2019 Leo Murty of the Miramichi Police was outside Mike’s Bar and witnessed some fool doing a burn out then taking off. Murty followed the car and called in the plate.

The car took off going west on King George Highway then took a gravel road by the Toyota dealership, swerving, hitting a fire hydrant and going into the ditch. Murty had his emergency lights on but was too far back to see if anyone had gotten out of the car after it wrecked. Murty arrested the man who was trying to get out of the car that was tipped on its side.

Austin Gray of Newcastle is on trial for dangerous driving and failing to stop for police. He gave a statement to police about the incident a few days later, and his friend who was in the car when police arrived on scene also gave a statement to police. Gray’s lawyer is contesting the admissibility of both statements to police, saying that the police used trickery to get a confession out of Gray, and that man arrested was too drunk to give a reliable interview that night.

The man who was in the car was 18 year old Kyrean Hubbard, and he was taken to the station where he was given a breathalyzer which he failed with readings just over the legal limit. He was going to be charged with impaired driving but told police it was his best friend who was driving, Austin Gray. He said Gray fled after the car went into the ditch.

Hubbard was interviewed on video by Murty who warned him about telling the truth on a sworn statement, and offered him the opportunity to call a lawyer. While Murty was interviewing Hubbard, Gray showed up at the police station and reported the car stolen to another officer.

Hubbard was informed that Gray had told police the car was stolen, and Hubbard spilled his guts.  

“He was fucking hammered. He wrecked his car and left me there,” Hubbard told Murty at the station. He said Gray was definitely the driver.

Hubbard said they were best friends but when he was told the car was reported stolen, he called Gray “a fucking little bastard”.

“He’d throw his own family under the bus to save his own life,” Hubbard told Murty.

“What can I do to fuck him over?” asked Hubbard.

“Just tell the truth,” Murty advised.

The video of Hubbard is very clear, and he could be heard slurring a few words, but was otherwise talkative and appeared alert and rational. His breath readings were taken about an hour after arrest and they were 0080 and 0.090. The legal limit for driving is 0.080.

Hubbard testified at the trial and said he didn’t remember giving the interview to police because he had blacked out. He said he was 18 at the time and had only started consuming alcohol recently. He said he didn’t remember who was driving the car that night. Hubbard was asked why his story was changing, and he said he didn’t remember what he said that night, and that he and Gray had been friends for a long time and nothing had changed.

The car was in Gray’s mother’s name, Angela. Angela testified that she remembered Gray coming home after 2 am. She said she remembered him cooking something and that the police had called to tell her that Austin reported her car stolen. She told the police Austin was home, and they asked her to check his clothing and shoes to see if they were dirty. If Gray escaped the car before Murty got there, he would have had to climb over a fence and a ditch. She said his clothes and shoes were clean.

A few days later Murty convinced Gray to come to the station and give an interview. Gray was interested in how much the police knew. Murty said they did not get the video from Toyota yet, but their cameras could see “all the way to Chatham Head”, and they would surely prove who was driving. Murty also told Gray that if he was truthful it would be in his best interest, and telling his story to police was going to be his only opportunity to set the record straight. Murty also said the Crown would make any decisions about what charges might be pursued or dropped.

Murty kept pressuring Gray to admit he was the one driving. He kept asking him questions after Gray repeatedly asked to be fingerprinted and released. Murty was questioned at trial about his interview technique and admitted to lying to Gray about certain things, and that it was his practice to keep going as long as he felt there was a chance of getting a confession.

When Gray finally said “Yup” to a question, Murty felt it was a confession and stopped the interview.

The Crown feels Murty did not step over the line with Gray, but the defence said there is a level of trickery accepted by the courts that Murty surpassed. The Crown also felt that Hubbard was sober enough to give a coherent statement, but the defence felt he should have been more closely scrutinized, and that both the statement from Gray and Hubbard should be thrown out.

Judge Natalie LeBlanc is hearing the case, and will give her decision in the coming weeks

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