Criminal charges rare for bartenders in impaired driving cases, legal experts say


    Legal experts say criminal charges like those laid against a former bar server in connection with a drunk-driving crash that killed two Ottawa-area teens are rare and difficult to prove.Ann Senack, 62, of Greater Madawaska Township, was charged in March with two counts each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm in a 2017 crash in Calabogie, Ont.Story continues below

    Two young men, Brandon Hanniman and Alexander Paquette, were killed and two others were injured when police say their car veered off the road and plowed into a rock cut.READ MORE: 16-year-old boy charged with drunk driving in GuelphPolice later said the group had been drinking at a local establishment and alcohol contributed to the crash. The case is expected to return before the court today.While bartenders and bars may face lawsuits related to serving drunk drivers, legal experts say they are not aware of a case in Ontario where someone has been found criminally responsible.They say the threshold for criminal negligence is much higher than for civil negligence.“To extend criminal liability in these circumstances is very, very uncommon,” said Michael Lacy, a Toronto lawyer and the president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.“If someone were held criminally culpable in these circumstances, I’d say that would be a precedent-setting decision,” said Lacy, who is not involved in the case.WATCH: Mother who survived crash caused by suspected impaired driver thought they weren’t getting out alive (April 5) Criminal charges rare for bartenders in impaired driving cases, legal experts say