‘ That didn’t need to happen’
Eskasoni murder accused makes court appearance Monday via video link
An Eskasoni man charged with second-degree murder told a Sydney court during an appearance via video link Monday that he hadn’t meant to commit murder.
Albert Michael Bernard, 36, wearing an orange jumpsuit, also said that he didn’t want bail but didn’t want to be remanded to the Cape Breton Correctional Centre. Instead, he wanted to be sent to a Halifax hospital.
“I don’t feel right because of what happened,” Bernard said, adding that he is not crazy.
“I didn’t mean to do it ... That didn’t need to happen.”
He was cautioned about his outburst by his duty counsel. Judge Peter Ross ordered Bernard to next appear in court Aug. 4 and remanded him back into custody until that time. He was also ordered by the court to not have any contact with six individuals. Bernard is charged in the death early Saturday morning of Dale Frank Dennis, 36, also of Eskasoni. A large contingent of residents of the First Nations community were on hand for Bernard’s arraignment Monday.
RCMP said a serious assault took place at the top of Spencer’s Lane in the First Nation community after 1 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Dennis, who was not initially identified by RCMP as the victim, was being transported by EHS when he died from his injuries on the way to hospital.
The suspect fled the scene on foot and was arrested in Eskasoni between 8-9 a.m. on Saturday without incident.
Crown attorney Sheldon Nathanson said the Crown hasn’t yet received any application for an assessment to determine fitness or criminal responsibility.
If Bernard does decide to seek bail, that application will have to be made in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
RCMP say the two men were known to each other and that the incident was not a random act.
They did not indicate whether a weapon was involved or if the victim and the accused had been together prior to the assault.
Peggy Dennis described her younger brother as a good man, noting he leaves behind nine daughters. It’s a difficult time for the Dennis family, a large clan with a total of 24 family members raised by Peggy Dennis’ mother. Including Dale, three siblings have died in the past month. While Dale was actually Peggy’s nephew, he was raised as her brother.
She said Dennis and Bernard grew up together and were once close friends, but there had been bad blood brewing between them for about the past six months, fed by rumours in the community, and she had feared her brother could be harmed.
Eskasoni RCMP were assisted by the Northeast Nova Major Crimes unit in the ongoing investigation.
Peggy Dennis, left, described her brother, Dale Frank Dennis, right, killed in an altercation in Eskasoni early Saturday morning, as a good man but said there had been bad blood brewing between him and Albert Michael Bernard, who is facing a second-degree murder charge from the incident.