NEWS

Victoria bus killing trial underway

09/14/2011 07:10 EDT | Updated 11/14/2011 05:12 EST

A manslaughter trial for a man accused of pushing a woman into the path of a bus in Victoria in 2009 is expected to paint two very different pictures of the events of that night.

Christopher Michael Groves, 23, is accused of pushing Ariana Simpson, 20, under the wheels of a bus on Feb. 12, 2009.

In opening the case, the lawyer for the Crown told the jury Groves had accompanied an intoxicated friend into an area in downtown Victoria frequented by homeless people.

According to the Crown, Groves' friend was trying to buy cocaine when the pair got into a confrontation with a group of homeless people that surrounded them.

The Crown alleges that's when Groves pushed Simpson and she fell into the path of a B.C. Transit bus. Simpson died instantly when her head was crushed beneath the wheels of the bus.

But during cross examination, Groves' former girlfriend testified Groves told her he was trying to defend himself from a woman in the group who was about to attack him.

It will be up to a jury to decide whether it was accident or a criminal act.

Outside the courtroom, the victim's mother Cindy Simpson said she wants something else from this trial.

"Whether it was an accident or not, his actions resulted in our daughters' death and I don't think he feels the impact of what it's like to take someone's life. I would just like to see some remorse," she said.

Several of Simpson's friends who witnessed the incident are expected to testify. The Crown has already told the jury to expect some of them were under the influence of drugs at the time, and most have criminal records.

This is Groves' second manslaughter trial for Simpson's death.

The first manslaughter trial last year was declared a mistrial after its first day.

Judge Ernie Quantz ruled he could not hear the case because the lawyer who advised Groves after he was arrested had since been appointed a provincial court judge. Quantz was concerned that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

The second trial is expected to last three weeks.

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