Quinlan granted discharge
McMaster quarterback Kyle Quinlan will avoid having a criminal record because of his Sept. 10 incident at TwelvEighty.
Quinlan was granted a conditional discharge Wednesday after pleading guilty to causing a disturbance, bringing an end to the legal saga that has hung over the star quarterback, even as his stellar on-field performances brought McMaster its first Vanier Cup in school history.
The fourth-year student, who was initially charged with one count of assault and two counts of assaulting a police officer, will serve a one-year probation, including a ban on alcohol and a ban from TwelvEighty during that period.
“We’re very pleased with the decision,” said Dean Paquette, Quinlan’s lawyer. “It’s a positive result from what was a very unfortunate event.”
Quinlan became a near household name in November when he led the Marauders to their first ever Vanier Cup. Just weeks earlier, however, that outcome looked highly unlikely when Quinlan was handed a three-game suspension by the Marauders for violating the Student Code of Conduct.
Following a 48-21 home loss to the Western Mustangs on Sept. 10, Quinlan got into an altercation with police outside TwelvEighty, apparently after trying to enter the bar without showing an entry wristband.
Fortunately for the Marauders, Quinlan was able to return to the lineup on Oct. 6 against the University of Toronto, where he led the team to a 50-14 win. The team never looked back, winning their next six games including the national championship contest in Vancouver.
“From what we can tell, he got drunk and made a mistake, as many students do,” said Crown attorney Toni Skarica. “He shouldn’t have to deal with a relatively small mistake for the rest of his life.”
Numerous character references were provided to the court, including one from McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek describing Quinlan as “one of the finest young men I have had the privilege of working with.”
“We all know he’s an outstanding athlete, but he’s also an outstanding character, and the incident was not reflective of that,” said Paquette, who added that he was glad the incident “was put in proper context. Kyle is an exemplary character who did something wrong fueled by alcohol and he recognizes that.
“He’s talked about very favourably by everyone, and it’s obvious he cares a lot about his family, his team and the McMaster community.” Skarica said that Quinlan’s sentence wasn’t influenced by his relatively well-known name.
“This isn’t any different than the sentence that most students would get. In fact, he’s probably already been punished more than the average student would be because of all the publicity and the suspension from playing football,” said Skarica.
Quinlan, who has one year of CIS eligibility remaining, is scheduled to participate in the CFL’s Evaluation Camp this weekend in Toronto.