On Aug. 3, 2012 – the Friday of the Civic holiday long weekend – Abigail McNaughton’s Honda Civic was struck on County Road 4, just outside Peterborough City limits. She died in hospital.
A former shop owner and licensed technician has been found guilty of issuing a fraudulent safety certificate for a vehicle involved in a fatal crash in 2012.
He was, however, found not guilty of the more serious charge of criminal negligence causing death.
Joe Ramono of Scarborough, Ont. was charged nearly four years ago, following the crash which took the life of 27-year-old Abigail MacNaughton of Peterborough, Ont.
Ramono had, a month before the crash, certified one of the vehicles as being safe. But a joint investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) found the 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 was not roadworthy.
It had over 400,000 km on the odometer, no muffler, holes in the floor, exposed wires, rusted cab mounts, and – most troubling – a faulty steering shaft with over 120 mm of free play.
Assistant Crown attorney Lisa Wannamaker described it as “a vehicular ticking time bomb.”
Joe Ramono, of Scarborough, arrives at Superior Court of Ontario in Peterborough, Ont. Photo by Jason Bain, courtesy of Post Media.
She said Ramono had issued the safety certificate without ever seeing the vehicle. She sought to convict him of that charge and, further, of being criminally negligent in MacNaughton’s death.
Following a month-long trial in Peterborough, a jury of eight women and four men found Ramono guilty this afternoon on the forgery charges but stopped short of holding him responsible for MacNaugton’s death.
The driver of that vehicle, Billy Towns of Lakefield, Ont., pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He will be sentenced on June 30 by Justice Hugh O’Connell of the Superior Court of Ontario tomorrow.
Ramono will be sentenced by Justice Stephen Bale.
Wannamaker told CARS magazine she will be seeking jail time.
CARS will post more details as they are available.