Charges Against Festival Organizers Could be Dropped
The Crown Prosecutor has filed an application to dismiss charges against five volunteer members of the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival.
Amherstburg police laid charges under the Liquor License Act against committee chair Karen Gygory; vice-chair Joanne DiPierdomenico; committee head of security Don Deslippe; logistics head Paul Mersch and volunteer Anne Rota. They are accused of failing to inspect the identification of someone who appears under the age of 19 after last September’s rollover crash that killed 18-year-old Emily Bernauer of LaSalle.
Windsor lawyer Andrew Bradie represents Rota and admits it’s unusual to charge volunteers. “My experience is that charges are laid against the corporation, not against individual directors who are volunteers.”
He admits he’s not sure why the Crown decided to pursue charges against the organizers, and he’s not sure why the Crown now wants to drop the charges.
If the judge accepts the application, the corporation will still face charges.
Renato Rota still faces a charge of permitting a person who appears under the age of 19 to have liquor.
Festival organizers decided to cancel this September’s event. The 2014 edition was named one of the top festivals in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario.