Crown stays charges against Senack in exchange for peace bond – OPP investigation criticized by defence

The trial of bar server Ann Senack on criminal negligence charges causing death and bodily harm resumed on May 13 following its abrupt adjournment on April 30. The reason for the request for that adjournment by the Crown was revealed when Renfrew Crown Attorney Jeffrey Richardson announced to the Court that an agreement had been reached with defence lawyers for Senack to enter into a peace bond. Richardson asked Justice Hugh Fraser to impose a stay on the criminal negligence charges that Senack had faced for the last two years.

Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Richardson recounted the events at Shooter’s Bar and Grill the fateful evening leading up to the crash on October 26 2017. It resulted in the deaths of Brandon Hanniman who was driving the car and Alex Paquette, and serious injuries to Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman, both of whom gave evidence for the prosecution. It was during the cross-examination of Scheuneman on April 30 that a request for an adjournment was made by the Crown so that it could consider its position. Click HERE to read The Current’s report.

Richardson gave a detailed account of the extent of alcohol consumption by the four victims noting that tests revealed their blood alcohol content was substantially in excess of the legal limit. Hanniman, the driver, was more than twice over the limit and Richardson said that had he survived he would have faced charges of impaired driving causing death with a probable penitentiary sentence.

He noted that Scheuneman and Paquette provided older brothers’ driver’s licences to Senack to satisfy her that they were of age, and also that Senack had been told that a taxi had been ordered to take the young men home.

Richardson concluded by saying, “What happened on October 26 and 27 was a tragedy for this community. Two young men were killed, two others very seriously injured, and Shooter’s Bar and Grill has now closed with those who owned it and worked there including Mrs. Senack losing their livelihood. It is the Crown’s submission that what happened here was completely senseless.”

Defence counsel Tony Paciocco then addressed the Court. Stressing that Senack is not pleading guilty to any charge nor admitting to any criminal or civil liability, he then proceeded to question the scope of the police investigation that resulted in the charges being laid. Referring to the evidence introduced by the defence including that gleaned from cell phone data and GPS coordinates he said, “All the evidence adduced by the defence during the Crown’s case was available to everyone, the OPP included, the whole time. It only took someone motivated enough to look for it,” pointing out that the defence team uncovered it from behind their computers. He said Senack is relieved that the prosecution against her is over but noted that it is not a victory for her. “We accept this is not a victory for anybody, we all are in varying degrees losers and to some extent we may always be when we look back at this.”

After hearing these submissions, Justice Fraser said, “Exercising my jurisdiction Ms. Senack will be required to enter into a common law peace bond on the terms as indicated, the duration being ten years, and the amount of the bond $25,000 deposit and without surety. I don’t think it is necessary to reread the conditions that have been read into the record unless there is clarification required. I understand that Ms. Senack entering into that bond and the charges against her are to be stayed at the request of the Crown.” The conditions Justice Fraser referred to are that Senack must not seek, obtain or continue any employment that involves serving alcoholic beverages and cannot also have any financial interest in any business that serves alcoholic beverages. She must also complete 300 hours of community service within the next four years. It was also revealed that she had made a voluntary $10,000 donation to Victim Services of Renfrew County.


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