A grieving Cape Breton mother is questioning why the woman charged in connection with the death of her son was released without bail and only minimal conditions.
“Why is she allowed to come and go as she pleases? She has no curfew, she’s allowed to continue to drive. It just doesn’t make sense,” said Carol Somerton, of Glace Bay, whose son Matthew died April 5 as a result of injuries sustained March 30.
According to Cape Breton Regional Police, Terrance Matthew Somerton, 26, died after being run over by a vehicle on Leslie Lane in Glace Bay.
His former girlfriend, Christina Michelle Croney, 26, is charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death by operating a vehicle in an excessive manner. Croney, who is about five months pregnant, is scheduled to enter pleas to the charges during a provincial court appearance Tuesday.
Her release conditions stipulate she have no contact with the victim’s family, that she report once a week to Cape Breton Regional Police, and stay away from Dolphin Crescent in Glace Bay.
According to witnesses at the scene, Matthew Somerton was holding onto the outside of the driver’s door when he fell to the ground and the vehicle rolled over him. The driver left the scene and was arrested a short time later. His mother said her son suffered as many 12 fractures to his skull.
“My whole family is shattered because of this. We have all been traumatized. She took (Matt) away from everything he loved,” said Somerton.
Diane MacGrath, a Sydney-based prosecutor with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service assigned to the Somerton case, said the Crown is satisfied the charges filed are appropriate based on the information provided by police.
“We are always willing and, indeed obligated, to look at new information in a case,” said MacGrath.
“But now we have to let justice run its course and at the end of the day, the Somerton family is certainly open to seek other avenues to have their concerns addressed,” she said.
MacGrath said when it comes to release conditions, the Crown is guided by provisions set out in the Criminal Code.
She stressed that each case is assessed on its own merits, and what may be appropriate in one case may not be in a similar one.
MacGrath and the island’s chief Crown attorney, Dan MacRury, have met with Somerton to discuss her concerns.
Somerton is also critical of the police investigation, and has filed several complaints against officers involved which are still being reviewed by police officials.
“They certainly didn’t check the truck enough because they missed a gram of weed in the dash,” said Somerton, who discovered the marijuana after retrieving the vehicle from the impound yard.
She also said officers failed to collect evidence from the apartment where her son and his girlfriend were staying.
Somerton has met with police several times to discuss her concerns.
“I just feel they are applying a different standard in this case. They don’t seem to be taking my side of the story seriously. My side of the story is that my son is dead,” said Somerton.
As for her son, Somerton said she will always miss his kindness.
“Matt will be remembered by all as a big, kind-hearted person with a great personality who would do anything for anyone,” said Somerton, in repeating a line from her son’s obituary.