CBC News Posted: Aug 14, 2014 8:53 AM ET
An Ottawa judge has set a dangerous precedent by convicting a recreational hockey player of assault for an incidental hit, according to the defendantís lawyer.
Gordon MacIsaac, 31, was sentenced Wednesday to probation of 18 months after a rare criminal conviction for an on-ice collision in March 2012 with Drew Casterton, now 31.
Lawyer Patrick McCann says the on-ice collision in the non-contact hockey league in Ottawa was accidental. (Lorian Belanger/Radio-Canada)
The two men played in the Ottawa Senior Men's Hockey League, a recreational non-contact league. Non-contact leagues ban bodychecking, but incidental contact is common.
As a result of the hit, Casterton was knocked unconscious. The trial heard he suffered serious physical effects and a loss of income.
Ontario Court Justice Diane Lahaie convicted MacIsaac of aggravated assault, and on Wednesday, she ordered him to pay Casterton $5,000.
MacIsaacís lawyer, Patrick McCann, said the decision could have a major effect on the way hockey is played.
"If I were advising my son to play hockey, I would say, 'Stay away.' All kinds of stuff can happen. Even playing shinny on an outdoor rink, stuff like this can happen," said McCann.
"The problem is when you start getting the law involved in these kinds of things, it really does create a very chilling effect for people that play the game."
McCann argues the contact was not intentional, but accidental, so his client should never have been found guilty.
"You have people playing in a recreational league and sometimes it gets a little intense and two players collide," the lawyer said.
McCann said the case pitted Castertonís teammates against his clientís teammates, which created a clear divide in how the hit was viewed.
"The players on the side of the complainant saw it as a nasty, vicious hit. Players on the side of Mr. MacIsaac saw it as incidental contact between two players skating fast," McCann said.
As a result, Lahaie relied on the testimony from the one referee who took the stand, according to McCann, whose testimony ultimately led to the conviction.
Casterton is also suing MacIsaac and the non-contact league for $600,000.
ommentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
The finding of guilt was a forgone conclusion as is the case most of the time with Justice Diane Lahaie who is notorious for personally fabricating justifications for her politically correct decisions and sentencing at the extreme high end.
This is the kind of justice one expects from the deep south of the United States where public defenders are non existent and or press ganged into defending accused persons.
This a judge the crown seek and obtain when they have a next to no chance of obtaining a conviction and who delivers predictable convictions.
Innocent accused persons plead guilty because they cannot afford the sort of lawyer that can only be obtained on a private retainer.
This is a judge who "spins" out trials to create so many delays that the accused change innocent pleas to guilty pleas simply to get away from "the smiling assassin" which is the name she has earned particularly since becoming a judge.
Prior to becoming a judge she was a prosecutor with a similar reputation in Cornwall.
This is the kind of judge who unnecessarily and improperly fills Ontario Jails with innocent men all in jail based on a "she said".
If you have a story to tell regarding "The Smiling Assassin"
Diane Lehaie, send an email to email@example.com or call (613) 797-3237
If you are presently facing this judge, make sure you do not have a "dump truck" for a lawyer.
2015 ONCA 587 R. MacIsaac
2013 oncj 787_r_v_MacIssac.html
Ottawa Mens Centre