'This can’t go unpunished' Sentencing hearing begins for driver convicted in Renfrew couple's death
OTTAWA -- John Anstie had no comment for reporters as he left the Ottawa Courthouse, as his sentencing hearing got underway for a 2016 collision that killed a well-known Renfrew couple.
Anstie, then 24, was on his way to Kanata from Almonte when he collided head-on with Joan, 66, and Doug Foster, 69, on Dec. 4, 2016, on March Rd. near Carp.
The 28-year-old was found guilty on all six charges in July 2019, including two counts of impaired driving causing death.
His defence lawyer Michael Crystal argued for a two-year sentence, claiming Anstie was sexually abused when he was a teenager and began self-medicating, resulting in a drug addiction.
“”It is not a get-out-of-jail card or a trump card in any way but the law takes that into account,” said Crystal.
“I urge that he be given treatment and he be considered for early parole.”
Crystal also says Anstie has shown great remorse, and has since sought help to get clean.
The Crown meanwhile called for a sentence of eight years, in order to send a message and denounce impaired driving.
“Mr. Anstie chose to drive, while he may have been a drug addict who consumed fentanyl, he made a decision to drive,” said Julien Lalande.
“He made a decision to drive a considerable distance.”
Friends and family of both Anstie and the Fosters sat in the courtroom as the submissions were made.
“This can’t go unpunished,” said friend of the Fosters, Nathan Harris.
“A drug addiction is not an excuse.”
Harris says he’s torn between showing compassion and looking for justice.
“You get 2 years and if the person is out in 4 or 5 months, that doesn’t seem like justice,” said Harris.
“We’re talking about the lives of two really beloved people and the live of another young man.”
"What's going to happen here today is not going to make anyone feel good," said Crystal.
"It's not a happy ending."
Meanwhile, Foster's son Skyler, says he forgives Anstie.
"I keep asking myself what my parents would say if they could speak for themselves," said Foster in a victim impact statement.
"So I forgive you John, for the reckless actions that you took, that led to my parents' death."
The judge did not make a decision Friday. A date of Feb. 7th was scheduled to set a date for the judge’s sentence.