Ottawa

Driver found not guilty in hit-and-run death of cyclist

In a decision the victim's relatives called "a disgrace" and "sickening," the man accused of being behind the wheel in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist has been found not guilty.

39-year-old Andy Nevin struck and killed in June 2015

Deinsberg St-Hilaire, 39, was found not guilty Friday in the death of Andy Nevin, who was struck and killed while riding his bike on Leitrim Road in June 2015. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

In a decision the victim's relatives called "a disgrace" and "sickening," the man accused of being behind the wheel in the hit-and-run death of a cyclist has been found not guilty.

Andy Nevin was struck and killed in June 28, 2015, while riding his bike on Leitrim Road in south Ottawa.

Deinsberg St-Hilaire was charged months later with dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene.

St-Hilaire broke down in tears as the decision was read. 

The judge in the case said much of the evidence presented was circumstantial, and said the Crown failed to prove its case. She expressed her condolences to Nevin's family and friends.

"A sudden, tragic death leaving so much pain in its wake must be unimaginably difficult to bear. The deep sympathy I feel can play no role in how I approach my task," Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken told them Friday.

Family walks out

Members of Nevin's family walked out of the courtroom while the judge continued to read the decision. As he left, Nevin's father called it a "disgrace."

The mother of Nevin's two adult sons, Nadia Robinson, was in tears outside the courtroom.

Our justice system has failed us today.... It's sickening.- Nadia Robinson

"How am I going to explain this to my two boys?" Robinson asked.

"We are now teaching society that as long as you say you fell asleep you can get away with killing someone," she said. "Our justice system has failed us today. We've been put through pain and torture for three years, and it's just not right. It's sickening."

Family members of Andy Nevin console each other outside the Elgin Street courthouse after the not guilty decision was read on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

The Office of the Independent Police Review Director, an Ontario police watchdog, said in 2016 it would investigate Ottawa police's handling of the case after St-Hilaire's criminal trial was done.

In particular, Andy Nevin's father Kerry Nevin complained to the OIPRD about one detective constable's work on the case.

St-Hilaire had pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the case. He's set to be sentenced on that charge in January.

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