Delay in fatal hit-and-run case as accused struggles to secure lawyer
Jackie Deveau served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 35 years and recently retired. (Courtesy: Ida Lelievre)
There has been a delay in the case of a Cape Breton man charged in the hit-and-run death of a military veteran as he struggles to secure a lawyer.
Thomas Smith was charged last month with criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving while prohibited.
Police say 26-year-old Smith was texting when he allegedly struck 54-year-old Jackie Deveau with his vehicle on Highway 125 near Sydney the night of March 11.
Duty counsel Mike Kuna says Smith is under a court order not to contact a list of 33 people, which is creating conflicts and making it difficult for him to find representation.
“They are working diligently to obtain counsel for him. It looks like we may have to probably even go off island to find counsel for him,” says Kuna.
Smith is due back in Sydney provincial court on June 22.
Smith’s mother has also been charged in the case. Norma Francis MacNeil is facing charges of accessory after the fact and obstruction of justice.
Deveau served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 35 years. His family said he was diagnosed with PTSD three years after participating in the Swiss Air cleanup.
They also said Deveau was receiving treatment at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital the night he was killed. The reason as to why he was on the highway remains a mystery.