Concealing his involvement in complainant’s death was not accused’s initial intention

Ontario criminal | Criminal Law | Offences against the administration of law and justice | Offences relating to peace officers

Accused’s pickup truck struck and killed complainant. Accused was driving home in tired state and complainant was riding his bicycle on shoulder of road. Accused was startled awake by bang, looked in his mirrors but did not see anything amiss and continued to drive home. Accused repaired vehicle. Few days later, when police arrived at residence to question accused, he moved to hotel in effort to avoid police detection and went to car wash. Accused was convicted of obstruction of peace officer. Sentencing hearing was held. Accused was sentenced to 12 months of incarceration to be served in community as conditional sentence. Conditional sentence was sentence of imprisonment and it embodied denunciatory as well as deterrent qualities. Court was not convinced beyond reasonable doubt that after accused noticed damage to fender and hood at home, that he realized he had been involved in collision with cyclist. No aggravating factors listed in s. 718.2 of Criminal Code were present in case. This was not case where specific deterrence or promotion of sense of responsibility on part of accused were significant objectives because these objectives had already been met. Accused expressed genuine remorse. Accused knew it was wrong to hide his involvement in accident and failed to find strength to do right thing rather than being drawn into criminal behaviour. Concealing his involvement in complainant’s death was not accused’s initial intention as he was influenced to follow this course of action by his brother’s concerns.

R. v. St. Hilaire (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 6111, 2019 ONSC 2076, Aitken J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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