Witness has little recollection of events before car crash in Senack trial

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Pembroke – The second week of the trial of Ann Senack, the 64-year-old former bartender charged with serving alcohol to four young men prior to two of them dying in a car crash, resumed this week with 22-year-old Jake McGrimmon, one of two survivors of the crash, testifying.

Mr. McGrimmon testified from an undisclosed location via video link as the case is being tried virtually. His testimony was witnessed not only by the court officers and the accused but close to 70 additional visitors watched the proceedings while he was questioned throughout the day. He was on the stand for an extensive period, but throughout much of his testimony he was unable to recall the events of the crash itself or the events leading up to it. Assistant Crown Attorney Richard Norris spent a great deal of time reviewing video recordings of the four young men inside the Shooters Bar hours before the crash. The video showed several interactions between the accused and the four young men. However, Mr. McGrimmon was unable to give any context of conversations between them. At several points during the questioning the Crown repeatedly asked the witness if he appeared to be impaired.

“I don’t know,” the witness replied.

The court also heard it was a quiet evening at Shooters Bar and Grill in Calabogie. The four young men – all Renfrew Timberwolves players – were joined by a fifth young man who left in a separate vehicle. There were also a few other patrons at the bar at the time.

On Tuesday defence counsel Tony Paciocco raised serious concerns about the timeliness of disclosure items presented to the defence from the Crown. During testimony defence counsel were presented with the full OPP investigative collision report. It was a 170 very detailed report which the defence only received at that point. There was some question about how long it took the defence to receive the information with the defence counsel, comprised of Mr. Paciocco and Michael Edelson, one of Canada’s top litigators, appearing visibly frustrated at receiving such a crucial piece of information at the late date. Upon questioning it was determined the information was prepared April 8, 2021 even though the accident occurred in 2017.

There has been a great deal of interest in the case since Mrs. Senack was charged in 2019 with two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in relation to the single vehicle crash which killed two members of the Renfrew Timberwolves team and seriously injured two others.

Mrs. Senack pled not guilty to all charges in relation to the single-vehicle crash near Burnstown that killed Renfrew teenagers Brandon Hanniman and Alex Paquette in the early morning of October 28, 2017. Both young men, along with fellow Renfrew Timberwolves hockey players Ben Scheuneman and Mr. McGrimmon, were all 18 at the time. Ms. Senack was working at the now closed Shooters Bar and Grill in Calabogie and it is alleged she served alcohol to one or more of the four under-aged victims prior to the fatal collision on Calabogie Road just a short time after they left the bar and drove off in a car driven by Mr. Hanniman.

The trial is being held virtually and is presided over by Justice Hugh Fraser. He will deliver the final verdict at the conclusion of the proceedings.

The trial is expected to resume today (Wednesday) although it is unknown if the defence will seek extra time to examine the late disclosure of the investigative collision report. It is anticipated Mr. McGrimmon will be back on the stand for cross-examination by the defence team.

The trial was slated to use five full days this week. Four weeks have been set aside for the trial and if needed, future dates reserved for case are May 10-14 and July 20-21. An additional two days are also reserved for summations by the Crown and defence.