Crown asks for time out at Senack trial – cell phone evidence triggers request

A dramatic development in the trial of bar server Ann Senack resulted in an abrupt end to yesterday’s hearing following Assistant Crown Attorney Richard Morris asking Judge Hugh Fraser to give the Crown time to consider its position. Senack is facing two charges of criminal negligence causing death and two charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm because of her alleged role in the fatal crash involving four Renfrew Timberwolves players on October 28 2017.

Morris’ request occurred during the cross-examination of Ben Scheuneman, one of the two survivors, by defence counsel Tony Paciocco. He had just taken Scheuneman through the last few seconds leading up to the crash on Calabogie Road. He did so using diagrams, each depicting one-second intervals for the seven seconds immediately prior to the crash. Using cell phone data extracted from the phones of some of the occupants of the car including Scheuneman himself, and matching that data to GPS coordinates, Paciocco plotted cell phone usage at various times along the route. He claimed that these showed that some occupants of the car were messaging each other during the journey. He said the last message was a Snapchat sent at 11:59:52 p.m. to Brandon Hanniman’s phone. Hanniman was driving at the time and did not survive.

In testimony earlier in the week the other survivor, Jacob McGrimmon who was in the front passenger seat, told the Court that moments before the crash Hanniman had shown him his cell phone. He said that he believed that this caused Hanniman to lose control and swerve onto the shoulder, and that the crash occurred after the driver tried to correct. The defence has suggested to the Court that distracted driving may have caused or contributed to the driver losing control of the vehicle. The Court has also been told that reconstruction of the accident revealed that the vehicle was travelling at 127km/hr immediately before the collision.

After being shown the last of the diagrams, Scheuneman agreed with Paciocco that Hanniman had received at 11:59:52 p.m. an incoming device notification and that it was something that he got “just a moment before the accident scene.” At this point Paciocco asked that Scheuneman be excluded from the hearing so that he could address the Judge in the witness’ absence, referring to what he described as a “very complicated and touchy area.”

Following defence submissions, Morris responded by asking the Judge to conclude the day’s proceedings early, saying, “It changes the fabric of the case from the perspective of the Crown and I want to think it through properly rather than make an off-the-cuff decision.” No objection was voiced by Paciocco and Justice Fraser agreed to Morris’ request, and the trial was therefore adjourned to May 10.

Click HERE for The Current’s earlier report of the trial.

Photo ctvnews

Editor’s Note: The first version of this article said the crash occurred on Oct.17 2017. On May 2 this was corrected to Oct.28 2017. We apologize for any confusion caused by this error.


  1. Mary-Joan Hale

    All round, this is sad, but Ann is a conscientious server. She is a lovely, caring woman. From what has been published, victim’s statements about carding do not agree. It is a stupid law which could have any one of us sitting in Ann’s seat in courtroom after a house party in our own home if someone is in a fatal accident after leaving. She should never have been charged! Who will want to work in a bar if the verdict goes against her! Praying she will be judged innocent. I cannot imagine her suffering and pain.

  2. Nathalie McNulty

    I’m sorry that 2 young men died, and two others were injured,
    But…. they drank, got drunk, then texted and drove. No body forced them to do any of it.
    I feel bad for the server she will forever feel like crap about over serving them, but come on….
    She did not cause their death. They did that.

  3. Cam McGarry

    Vicky, these kids could’ve been 22 years old… legal to consume alcohol and the same outcome could have occurred. Who knows how much they consumed before, or after they left the bar. To hold just one person accountable isn’t fair at all.

  4. Johnny Smith

    This was a very tragic evening.
    But the boys made their own decisions.
    They shouldn’t have been drinking , texting, and speeding.
    I understand they produced fake identity, when asked by the server.
    My opinion is , I don’t think this accident would have been avoided based on the driving speed , and the distraction by text.
    Which caused an over correction of steering resulting in the accident.
    I don’t feel that Ann Senack needs to suffer any further than she already has.

    • Vicky Griffith

      She still served mass amounts of alcohol to four 18 year olds, only two of which were asked for I.D, fake I.D, no effort made to prove the I.D, no effort made to limit alcohol intake. A good defense will always find a loop hole to get the worst off, its their job. Did she actually cause the accident?, did she contribute? Yes, did she do her job? No.

      • Kim Rekowski

        She served 5 standards drinks each in two hours.. not illegal… she checked ID’s, fed them, and inquired about taxi’s… due diligence on her part was done. The gentlemen started out to deceive her right from the get go… Everyone can sit back and say Smart Serve Certified makes you responsible for this outcome… but watching this unfold I would say she did follow smart serve training to the best of her ability… it is not the perfect solution to drinking responsibly either. The consumer of the alcohol also holds a responsibility to not drink and drive. You get that responsibility when you are given a drivers licence at any age. This entire thing is tragic right from the start, learning from it should be an eye opener for everyone involved and watching!
        Don’t drink and drive! Plan ahead! Then there will be nobody else to blame for your own actions.

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