The Cape Breton man acquitted of killing a 10-year-old girl with his vehicle has been handed a suspended sentence and 18 months probation after pleading guilty to lying about the incident.
Colin Hugh Tweedie was in Sydney Supreme Court on Friday for obstruction of justice following the death of Talia Forrest in 2019. She was struck by an SUV while out for a bike ride on Black Rock Road in the rural community of Big Bras d'Or.
Tweedie was acquitted of charges including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, impaired driving causing death and failing to stop at an accident involving a death.
The obstruction charge was filed because he told police he was not driving his vehicle that day, but said his girlfriend was.
After sentencing by Justice Mona Lynch, Tweedie briefly told the family in court that he was very sorry for what happened and said he will carry it with him for the rest of his life.
Tweedie's lawyer, Tony Mozvik, said he was not surprised by the judge's decision.
'I think it's a fair sentence:' lawyer
"I think it reflects the general consensus on what the appropriate range should be," Mozvik said outside the courtroom. "We were looking for a discharge, but this sentence given by the judge is within the realm of a first-time offender... I think it's a fair sentence."
Mozvik said there is sorrow for Talia's family, but the incident has also been a "nightmare" for Tweedie.
"We're pleased that it's over and we hope that some healing occurs within the community and that everybody takes a sober second thought at this and realizes that at the end of the day, it was just an accident," the lawyer said.
Susan Arsenault cried and said there was no justice for her daughter Talia Forrest.
"He took my baby away from me and he only had 18 months," she said. "The justice system is a disgrace."
Crown attorney Nicole Campbell had been seeking a sentence of three to six months in custody followed by probation.
Afterwards, she simply said the judge's decision was within the range available, given mitigating and aggravating factors.
Tweedie pleaded guilty to obstruction on the second day of his trial in March.
He was acquitted of the remaining charges, sparking an emotional outburst from family that resulted in at least one person being removed from the courthouse.
Meanwhile, the Crown is appealing Tweedie's acquittal.
MORE TOP STORIES