Rally for Joneil: Questions remain over investigation into Cape Breton teen's death
Friends and family of a Cape Breton teenager who was struck and killed by a vehicle took to the streets of Sydney Mines on Sunday, to voice their concerns with how the investigation into his death has been handled.
17-year-old Joneil Hanna was killed on June 10, when he was struck by a vehicle after leaving a nearby graduation party near Leitches Creek, N.S.
On Sunday, more than 100 people paraded along Main St., many carrying posters and messages of support for a family that is still searching for answers.
"It warms my heart," said Jenn Hanna, Joneil's mother.
It’s been seven emotion-filled days for Jenn Hanna. Sunday was especially difficult, as Joneil had been looking forward to celebrating his first Father's Day with his eight-month old daughter Harper.
"We went out and put a lobster by the pole where the accident happened, because all he wanted for Father’s Day was a feed of lobster. His first Father's Day." explains Jenn Hanna.
So far, nobody has been charged in connection with the collision. .
Cape Breton Regional Police have confirmed the driver of the vehicle had attended the graduation party. Police did not request a breathalyzer test, saying there was no evidence to indicate the driver of the vehicle was impaired.
That decision has sparked an outcry online, which took to the streets on Sunday.
“It’s heart breaking to lose a child. I couldn’t even imagine,” says Amanda MacDonald, a friend of the Hanna’s who has been by their side this past week.
MacDonald says she is left with many questions about Joneil’s death and the investigation that followed. “I think there is a lot more to the story that they’re not saying,” adds MacDonald.
Joneil’s mother wonders why police didn’t give the driver a breathalyzer test after the collision. But one Halifax legal expert says police require evidence before the test is requested.
“(There are) two reasons why they might not administer it,” explains Wayne Mackay, Professor Emeritus of Law at Dalhousie University . “Under section 254 of the Code, if you’re asked to take the breathalyzer and refuse, there is the offense of refusal, so it’s a serious jeopardy that they’re putting on the person. And secondly, if they administered it and it was not appropriate to do so, they could face a charter challenge for violating the person’s privacy.”
Jenn Hanna says she hopes Sunday’s show of support will send the message that she’s not going away.
“It’s just all about Joneil. To make sure the correct justice is served,” says Hanna.
Police say their investigation is continuing and that charges have not been ruled out.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.