The woman charged with the hit-and-run that killed 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian downtown Chilliwack on Dec. 1, 2016 has been found guilty in BC Supreme Court.
Linnea Labbee offered no reaction Monday (April 12) morning as Justice Brenda Brown explained how the 72-year-old’s testimony was not credible nor reliable, and was “internally and externally inconsistent.”
Labbee had no defence lawyer and represented her self.
“The only reasonable conclusion is that Ms. Labbee was driving the truck when it struck the victim,” Brown said. “I am satisfied that she knew she hit a person. She was reckless as to whether death ensued. She left the scene to avoid civil or criminal liability.”
|Fourghozaman Firoozian, who was the victim of a 2016 hit-and-run, seen here handing out food to the less fortunate downtown Chilliwack.|
Labbee is charged after the 2016 incident with one count of failing to stop at an accident causing bodily harm after she hit and ran over Firoozian – who went by “Farouk” to her friends – at the intersection of Mary Street and Patten Avenue.
Labbee was driving south on Mary Street at between 30 and 40 kilometres per hour when she struck Farouk, drove over her body, briefly stopped and looked back, and then drove away.
Several witnesses described the hit-and-run on the scene, and while no one could positively identify Labbee when shown a photo of her, Justice Brown accepted the descriptions, which fairly matched Labbee.
Labbee’s truck also had damage and a piece of it was found at the scene. The victim’s DNA was also found inside the driver’s side front wheel well.
While Labbee’s testimony in her defence was inconsistent with witness testimony, and also with her own previous statements and even within her own testimony at trial, one of her claims was that someone must have stolen her truck, committed the hit-and-run, then returned it to its parking spot at Southgate Shopping Centre.
“It was Ms. Labbee’s theory that her truck was stolen… then returned to almost the same spot without her noticing,” Justice Brown explained. “She says that she must have left the truck unlocked and that there was a spare set of keys inside the truck.”
In agreeing with Crown counsel Joe Saulnier’s submissions, Brown found this explanation “incredible” and not worthy of reasonable doubt.
In final submissions at the end of the trial, Saulnier pointed out that Labbee was first seen on security footage at Southgate at 12:21 p.m., four minutes after the hit-and-run just over a block away. Labbee withdrew money from her bank account at the CIBC on the corner of Young Road and Princess Avenue at 12:11 p.m., just six minutes before Firoozian was struck and killed.
After explaining her reasons for the finding of guilt, Justice Brown asked Saulnier if he would be seeking jail time for Labbee.
“I will be seeking jail time,” he said.
Brown then told Labbee that if her submissions on sentencing included a claim that she should not go to jail because of the various health conditions she complained about during the trial, “you will need to get a doctor’s report. I will need third party verification.”
Labbee said she had spoken to the lawyer who had previously represented her before the trial began, Martin Finch, and that he would be helping her with the next steps, which she said included appealing the conviction.
Saulnier made an application, which Brown agreed to, to have Farouk’s son read his victim impact statement over Microsoft Teams because he lives in the U.S. so is unable to attend in person.
Saulnier said he was seeking a pre-sentence report, so the matter was put over until June 14 to fix a date for sentencing.
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