Wine Festival corporation found guilty on two Liquor Licence Act charges

By Jolene Perron

Three years after Emily Bernauer was killed in a single-vehicle crash, the verdict has come down on the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival, finding the corporation guilty of two charges under the Liquor Licence Act.
Prior to his findings, Justice of the Peace Mike Hurst said this was one of the most difficult cases of his career.
While noting the festival board did due diligence in many areas with regards to how alcohol was served, Hurst explained that he found the corporation guilty of failing to inspect a piece of identification, and allowing a person apparently under the age of 19 to drink liquor.

After the verdict was read, defense lawyer Patrick Ducharme said he believes the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival will not exist again, and he is uncertain what kind of sentencing will come from the case.
“I’m not really sure whether the corporation still exists, I know it doesn’t have any money because whatever money it raised they gave back to the community so you essentially have a corporation that if it does exist probably is bankrupt,” said Ducharme. “I believe that it will not ever exist again, certainly not by the present board members because they feel that their efforts and interest in the community and everything they did for the various wineries in and around that area was put on their shoulders and they bear the burden of it and all they did was try and help the community.”
The Bernauer family did not wish to comment.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled on Sept. 25.

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