When Merritt RCMP clocked Jie Cui for speeding in April, officers also told her they’d have to impound her 2018 Land Rover for seven days.
According to B.C.’s director of civil forfeiture, the Richmond woman didn’t take the news well.
“Ms.Cui fled from the traffic stop in the vehicle and drove westbound on Highway 97C,” the director says in a notice of civil claim.
“Ms.Cui refused to stop for the Merritt RCMP, despite the Merritt RCMP activating emergency lights. The Merritt RCMP observed Ms.Cui drive the vehicle dangerously, including over a grass median and onto Highway 5.”
‘Likely to cause serious bodily harm’
Cui made it out of Merritt and back down the Lower Mainland. She was arrested more than a month later in White Rock.
But the government now wants to seize her Land Rover as an “instrument of unlawful activity” — citing the accused scofflaw’s driving record as evidence she’s “likely to cause serious bodily harm” if someone doesn’t take away her keys.
The director of civil forfeiture filed a lawsuit against Cui this week in a bid to take the Land Rover, which she leased in 2019.
The claim isn’t the first time the B.C. government has pointed to a person’s driving record as evidence they represent a danger to the public. They lost a case against a motorcyclist in 2013 because they couldn’t establish a threat.
In the case against Cui, the director of civil fofeiture claims she had a youth and another adult passenger in her vehicle when she fled RCMP after she was caught going 166 km/h in a 110 km/h zone..
The same youth was allegedly a passenger in a 2015 Lexus that hit a cement barrier and flipped in July 2016 when it was being driven by Cui’s former spouse.
She was also allegedly charged with failing to stop for police in August 2016.
And in February 2017, Cui was allegedly charged with using an electronic device while driving in Vancouver.
B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Act allows the province to file suit against property linked to unlawful activity, regardless of whether or not a person has been convicted or even charged with a crime.
To win, the director of civil forfeiture has to establish that the property in question is either the proceeds of crime or an instrument of unlawful activity.
According to court records, Cui was charged with flight from police, dangerous operation of a conveyance, excessive speeding and resisting a police officer.
Her next appearance is in July. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
In 2013, the director of civil forfeiture lost a bid to take a Ducati motorcycle away from a 40-year-old driver who had committed 39 driving offences over two decades — including going at speeds in excess of 200 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.
In that case, the judge said evidence was needed “of the circumstances surrounding the commission of the speeding offences that could lead the court to find that serious bodily harm to a person was a likely result.”
The motorcyclist argued that “the road where he accelerated to about 200 kph was long and straight; the weather was sunny and clear with good visibility; the road surface was dry; there were no other vehicles on the road or in sight; there were no pedestrians on the road or in sight; and the Ducati was in perfect working condition.”
The judge said he wasn’t condoning speeding, but in the case at hand could not conclude that the practice should result in the man losing his prized motorcycle.
Cui has not filed a response to the director of civil forefeiture’s claim.