Nova Scotia

Manslaughter charge withdrawn against Cape Breton woman

Kimberley Ann O'Dea, 38, was charged following the death of Dana Marie Jessome, 28, who was struck by a vehicle on Oxford Street in Sydney Mines, N.S., in July 2017.

Kimberley Ann O'Dea, 38, was charged in death of Dana Marie Jessome

All charges were withdrawn against Kimberley Ann O'Dea, 38, on Monday at a hearing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney. (Robert Short/CBC)

Charges have been dropped in the case of a Sydney Mines, N.S., woman accused of manslaughter in the death of another woman who was hit and killed two years ago by a vehicle.

Kimberley Ann O'Dea, 38, was charged following the death of Dana Marie Jessome, 28, who was struck on Oxford Street in Sydney Mines in July 2017.

O'Dea was also charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

The case was scheduled to go to trial in January.

The Crown withdrew all charges against O'Dea Monday morning at a Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing in Sydney.

The decision to withdraw the charges came one week after Justice Patrick Murray ruled that a statement taken by Cape Breton Regional Police from O'Dea the morning that Jessome was struck could not be used in court.

What judge said

He ruled O'Dea had not been properly advised of her rights.

In a court hearing in November to consider the admissibility of her statement, the court heard that O'Dea went to the police station in Sydney Mines on July 14, 2017, to get help. 

 A short time before that, police dispatch had received two calls: one indicating there was a woman at the police station who believed she may have hit someone, the second that there was a person on the road, on Oxford Street.

Evidence at the hearing suggested O'Dea was highly emotional at the police station that morning and wanted to get help.

Const. Troy Walker testified he tried to get some information from her to find out what was going on, while another officer went to the scene.

He wrote down what she told him and also took her vehicle keys and placed her in a telephone room.

'Serious legal difficulties'

She wasn't cautioned until about an hour later, when the officer on the scene indicated she should be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

In his decision, Murray said the police knew, or should have known, that O'Dea could be facing "some serious legal difficulties."

Had O'Dea been cautioned sooner, he said she might have chosen to remain silent or speak to a lawyer.