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Liberal MP quits caucus after crash conviction

Last Updated Fri, 14 Dec 2001 14:04:38 EST

OTTAWA - Quebec MP Jean-Guy Carignan resigned from the Liberal caucus on Friday after being sentenced for a hit-and-run accident.

The MP pleaded guilty last month to driving into a pedestrian and then leaving the scene of the accident. On Friday, a Quebec City judge sentenced him to one year of open custody.

Carignan hit a 20-year-old woman walking on a bicycle path last fall, court was told. She was slightly hurt.

He was not a Member of Parliament at the time, and charges weren't laid until Nov. 27, 2000 – the day of the last federal election.

The Crown accused him of initially trying to cover up the damage to his vehicle, and of lying to insurers about the cause of the accident. He waited more than 20 hours before contracting police.

Carignan originally faced prosecution for impaired driving as well, but the charge was dropped.

Judge Pierre Rousseau ordered the MP not to leave his home for the first four months of his sentence, except to go to work. He must also perform 100 hours of community service, and is prohibited from drinking alcohol for a year.

After the sentence ends, Carignan will be on probation for two years.

Carignan retains his seat in the House of Commons, although he is no longer affiliated with the government.

"Prime Minister Jean Chrétien received a letter today from the MP for Quebec-Est informing him that he was resigning from the Liberal caucus," according to a statement released Friday.

"The prime minister has accepted Mr. Carignan's resignation."

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