Lawyer says man involved in fatal B.C. hit-and-run shouldn’t spend time behind bars

The lawyer for a man involved in a hit-and-run crash that killed a 59-year-old motorcyclist in Burnaby three years ago, says his client should not spend any time behind bars.

Marcel Grenaille, 37, pleaded guilty last year to leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to offer assistance.

That charge stemmed from a collision in June 2021 that left James “Mark” Peters dead. Peters had been riding his Harley Davidson to work around 9:30 p.m. when police say he was rear-ended at the intersection of Canada Way and Imperial Street and thrown from the bike. He later died in hospital.

Click to play video: 'Burnaby RCMP issue plea to fatal hit-and-run suspect'

Burnaby RCMP issue plea to fatal hit-and-run suspect

The bumper and licence plate of the vehicle that struck him were left at the scene.

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At a B.C. Provincial Court hearing in Vancouver on Wednesday, defence lawyer Tony Lagemaat argued Grenaille should receive a six-month conditional sentence, to be served in the community, and a six-month driving ban.

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Lagemaat told the court his client, who is Indigenous, had suffered trauma and abuse as a child, and has worked hard to stay sober for the last three years despite a history of drug use.

“The court has to consider the effects of colonialism on his moral culpability, and he’s accepted responsibility and he’s not a danger to the community,” Lagemaat told Global News outside the court.

Crown prosecutors are seeking a sentence of two years in jail and a five-year driving ban, arguing that Grenaille lied to police about his alibi and did not take accountability for his role in the crash for two years.

Click to play video: 'Courtenay Good Samaritan stays to help cyclist in fatal hit-and-run'

Courtenay Good Samaritan stays to help cyclist in fatal hit-and-run

According to an agreed statement of facts submitted to the court, Grenaille presented himself at the Burnaby RCMP detachment the day after the crash saying his lawyer told him police wanted to speak with him, but that he didn’t know why.

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Grenaille told police he was at his recovery house the night of the fatal crash, and did not have his car keys with him, according to the document.

A pre-sentencing report submitted to the court states that Grenaille’s “problematic decision-making may be a symptom of intergenerational trauma,” adding that he developed a lifetime distrust of authority.

Grenaille declined to comment to Global News outside the court, except to say he was remorseful about the death.

Inside the courtroom, he apologized to Peters’ family, saying he is taking full responsibility and that ““no words can adequately convey the pain and grief caused by my actions.”

Provincial Court Judge Andrea Brownstone is scheduled to return with a sentence on June 27.

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