Man sen­tenced for ly­ing about fa­tal ac­ci­dent

Liam Alexan­der MacNeil pleaded guilty to pub­lic mis­chief

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF news@cb­

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.

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