Photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.
What was advertised as a civic rally looked more like a mid-afternoon coffee break. On October 19, friends, colleagues, and supporters of Darcy Allan Sheppard—the cyclist who died after an altercation on August 31 with former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant—mingled on the lower steps of Old City Hall at 2:30 p.m. with their coffee mugs and lunch boxes, but did little else.
Inside, Bryant’s lawyer, Marie Henein, was attending the first in a series of hearings that will decide her client’s fate, though a final decision may not come down before 2011. Bryant faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.
According to the Facebook event page, fellow cyclists and friends of Sheppard were called upon to make a stand outside the courthouse and demand that justice be served against Bryant. “May he not be let off easy for being a member of the supposed elite,” it reads. A few of the idlers said the charges are too lenient and that a charge of manslaughter would be better suited to the alleged crime. They’re concerned the justice system won’t give Bryant due process because of his status.
The only oration came from de facto town crier Kevin Clock, who came to the courthouse separately from Sheppard’s supporters. While pacing up and down the courthouse stairs, he voiced his grievances at the top of his lungs. “In six months to a year, after the media coverage is over, the crown will make a deal so [Bryant] won’t get a criminal record,” he shouted. “Don’t be surprised if he only gets a suspended sentence or probation!” Few of his words made an impact; onlookers were more focused on Clock’s pin-striped suit complete with sneakers and a tie-dye turban.
The meager assembly was barely even roused when Sheppard’s former girlfriend Misty pushed her way through the media into the courthouse; it was clear they were there to see Bryant, and his absence deflated what little energy they had to begin with.
While less than twenty-four hours after Sheppard’s death an impromptu crowd gathered around the scene of the incident in mourning, and one day later hundreds congregated to draw attention to bicycle safety, the sparse turnout at the courthouse suggests that outrage over Sheppard’s death is fading—even if the confrontation still remains on the mind of the city.
Bryant has his next hearing on November 16.