A Port au Choix man who left the scene of an accident that had resulted in his friend suffering a serious head injury has been sentenced to house arrest.
Marcus Tony Spence, 25, was given a four-month conditional sentence, along with $700 in fines after being convicted at trial earlier this year.
Spence had been drinking earlier in the evening of June 11, 2017, having attended a shed party before heading to a motel bar, Judge Wayne Gorman had heard at the trial conducted at provincial court in Corner Brook.
Spence left the bar was giving his friend a ride on an all-terrain vehicle when the accident happened. The cause of the accident was not determined at trial, but the fact Spence left the accident scene with his friend lying in the middle of the main road in Port au Choix was proven at trial.
Gorman was told that two people responded to the accident scene and one of them told Spence to leave.
The judge ruled Spence left the scene with the intention of avoiding getting into trouble with the law.
The victim was bleeding from one ear and was later determined to have suffered a fractured skull, the court was told.
Gorman convicted Spence of four offences. He gave him a $200 fine for operating an ATV on a highway and for not wearing a helmet, plus a $300 fine for failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
The four-month period of house arrest was for the offence of driving a vehicle that was involved in an accident and leaving the scene with the intention of escaping civil or criminal liability.
Crown attorney Lori St. Croix asked that Spence be given three to five months in prison, plus a year of probation and a two-year driving prohibition. She said leaving the scene of an accident, particularly with someone being seriously injured, was an aggravating factor that required denunciation.
Spence’s lawyer, Robby Ash, asked for two to three months of house arrest, followed by probation. Ash argued that putting Spence in prison or issuing any sort of driving prohibition would affect his employment as a heavy equipment operator in Alberta.
Gorman agreed to sentence him to house arrest, citing that Spence had no prior convictions and was a gainfully employed youthful offender who did not constitute a danger to the public.
Gorman, who ordered that Spence make a $500 contribution to a food bank in Newfoundland and Labrador, also opted to not impose any probation or driving prohibition.
Despite both the Crown and defence agreeing with a period of probation, Gorman said Spence does not require counselling or community supervision following the serving of his sentence.
The judge said, while a driving prohibition would normally be expected for this type of offence, it was not mandatory and would likely have a negative impact on Spence’s employment.