TRURO - The P.E.I. Court of Appeal has upheld the four-month jail sentence imposed on Truro Bearcats defenceman Zach Evans-Renaud for leaving the scene of an accident at UPEI last year.
The 20-year-old St. Peters, P.E.I., native had asked the province's highest court to consider a sentence of 90 days or less which would have enabled him to serve it on an intermittent basis, allowing him to continue playing for the Bearcats and taking courses at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill.
"He's a good young man who fouled up," Bearcats head coach Shawn Evans said. "Now he's got to pay the price for the mistake he's made.
"But he's part of our family and we will be here and we'll be pleased to see him when he gets out and we'll move on together."
Evans-Renaud was originally sentenced in January. He was to start serving his time Thursday at 6 p.m.
The sentence proposed by his defence counsel, Mitchell MacLeod, also included a period of probation, restitution to the victim, Adam Kyle Molyneaux, and a lengthy driving prohibition. MacLeod argued Chief Provincial Court Judge John Douglas had erred in principle by failing to give due consideration to a less restrictive sentence. He also argued Douglas had failed to give adequate reasons for not considering such a sentence.
The Court of Appeal did not agree. In a decision written by Justice Michelle Murphy, with the concurrence of Chief Justice David Jenkins and Justice John McQuaid, the high court found the sentencing judge appropriately considered the purposes and principles of sentencing set out in the Criminal Code.
The charge against Evans-Renaud was laid in connection with an incident March 13, 2011 in which Molyneaux, 19, was struck while walking along the side of UPEI's rear access road.
Molyneaux was waiting for his father to pick him up when he was hit from behind by a vehicle. The victim's father later found him lying bloodied and hurt by the side of the road.
The victim suffered cuts and bruising to his legs, hips and back and required staples to his forehead area, which was badly cut. He also suffered bruising to the back of his hand and was unable to attend classes for several days.
Evans-Renaud failed to stop his vehicle, check on the injuries to the pedestrian, exhibit his license, registration and insurance or report the collision to the police.
Acting on a tip police located Evans-Renaud's vehicle in Cable Head East. He was subsequently arrested and charged.
Evans-Renaud, a member of the Gatineau Olympiques at the time, acknowledged he did not stop to offer assistance nor call police to report the collision and showed remorse. He stated he left the scene because he panicked and realized a short time later he had struck a person.
Evans said he is disappointed to lose Evans-Renaud, one of the team's top defencemen, from the lineup but said the incident provides a good life lesson for everyone involved with the club.
"It's part of life and growing up," he said. "Hopefully Zach's situation will help make us all better people and make us a closer knit team."
Evans-Renaud, five-foot-10, 200 pounds, has been part of the reason why the Bearcats have gotten off to a 5-0-0-0 start to the season, allowing just five goals in that span. He's chipped in three assists to the cause.
Evans said the team will be treating his absence as a long-term injury and will welcome him with open arms when he's released.
"He's a great friend to me and the rest of the team and we're disappointed for him for what he's got to go through."
With files from Charlottetown Guardian reporter Doug Gallant