Windsor court hears closing arguments in Shores of Erie Wine Festival trial

A Windsor court heard closing arguments in the trial involving the Shores of Erie Wine Festival corporation — charged with violating its liquor licence by serving alcohol to a minor — on Tuesday.

Emily Bernauer, 18, crashed her car and died after working a shift with a wine festival vendor in September 2014. Toxicology reports confirmed there was alcohol in her system at the time of the accident.

The arguments were made after lawyers disagreed about a change to the language of the charges charges back in January. 

Crown Attorney Scott Kerwin requested the festival be charged as special occasion permit holder, not a licensee as the organization was referred to in the original charges.

The festival's lawyer Pat Ducharme, opposed changing the language,because it could lead to the possibility of a "double jeopardy."

Justice of the Peace Michael Hurst agreed to change the wording of the charges on Tuesday, saying the "amendments can be made without injustice being done."

Trial will resume in May

After charge amendment, both the crown and defence made their final submissions.

Ducharme told the court the alcohol that Bernauer was drinking was from the Sobey's tent she was working at.

"There is no credible or reliable evidence that Emily received any alcohol from any vendor of the defendant," he added. 

Kerwin argued that the defence is trying to shift blame, and that it is "absurd" to suggest the drinks Bernauer had from the festival did not have any alcohol in them.

The trial will resume in court on May 15, 2017 at 9 a.m., where a date will be picked to hear Hurst's ruling.