Man sentenced for lying about fatal accident
Liam Alexander MacNeil pleaded guilty to public mischief
A Sydney man who lied to police about who was driving a vehicle involved in a fatal accident was placed under house arrest Thursday for 18 months.
Liam Alexander MacNeil, 30, of Railroad Street, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to a charge of public mischief.
MacNeil admitted he misled police in telling them that William Francis Gittens, 40, of Dutch Brook, was the driver of a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban that crashed on a trial road in South Bar Sept. 25, 2016.
Prosecutor Steve Melnick told the court that the vehicle hit a pothole or rut in the road and rolled three times.
MacNeil was driving at the time. Gittens, a father of four, was the passenger and was thrown from the vehicle.
MacNeil initially told a 911 operator that Gittens was driving and repeated his claim days after the accident in giving a statement to Cape Breton Regional Police.
It was two months later, after an extensive investigation by regional police, that MacNeil admitted he lied about who was driving.
Having previously heard sentencing arguments from Melnick and defence lawyer Christa Thompson, provincial court Judge Amy Sakalauskas adjourned sentencing until Thursday.
In accepting the joint Crown/ defence sentencing recommendation, the judge noted that MacNeil was not being sentenced for causing Gittens death.
MacNeil had no prior convictions and did express remorse for the additional pain he caused to the family of his friend, said the judge.
Sakalauskas ordered MacNeil observe a 24-7 curfew with exceptions for employment, medical and legal appointments and medical and counselling sessions. He is also allowed out for one, four-hour period per week.
There were several people mentioned with whom MacNeil is not to have any contact but two people, Gittens’ wife Lisa and his sister Tracey, asked their names be removed from the nocontact list.
During the first 12 months of his sentence, MacNeil is not to occupy the driver’s seat of any vehicle.
Thompson said her client was in a state of shock when he first told police who was driving the vehicle.