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Parson’s Pond woman pleads not guilty to causing Cow Head teen’s death

Neila Blanchard.
Neila Blanchard. - Star file photo

Wearing a device to help her hear what was happening, Neila Annett Blanchard stood in the prisoner’s box in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Monday as the charge against her was read out.

The 57-year-old Parson’s Pond woman is charged with operating a motor vehicle in a manner dangerous for the public and thereby causing death.

When Blanchard was asked how she would plead, she replied with: “not guilty.”

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Blanchard is alleged to have been driving the vehicle that struck and killed Justin Simon Hynes on Sept. 11, 2017. The 17-year-old teen from Cow Head had been walking to school at the time and died at the scene.

Blanchard was committed to stand trial on the charge at the completion of a preliminary inquiry in provincial court on Nov. 30.

Following the entering of the not guilty plea, a seven-day, judge alone trial was set for Oct. 28-Nov. 5.

A pretrial conference will be held on April 23, at which time the Crown is expected to have a better idea of the number of witnesses that will be called at trial and if the seven days will be needed.

At the start of the arraignment Justice George Murphy told the court he would not be hearing the trial as he knows many people involved in the matter on the side of the accused and of the victim.

Murphy said he was OK to preside over the arraignment as long as neither Blanchard of the Crown had any objections. Both indicated they had no issue with him doing so.

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