A man who damaged the personal car of a police officer he blamed for the death of his cousin in a multiple fatality crash in East End last year was sentenced Wednesday to 90 hours of community service.
Elvert Mark McFarlane was also ordered to pay $1,425 compensation within three months and to complete the community service within the next year. All of the vehicle’s windows had been smashed with a cement block the day after the fatal East End accident.
Mr. McFarlane earlier pleaded guilty to damaging the car of the officer who, he believed, was “indirectly responsible for the death of a relative,” senior Crown Counsel Candia James said. The relative was involved in a motor vehicle accident, she explained, but “there is nothing to suggest the officer did anything to cause the accident.”
Shortly after the damage occurred, police released a statement to the effect that the constable had been the initial responder to a two-car accident in which four people died on May 2, 2017, and police believed he was retaliated against the next day by a family member of one of the crash victims who blamed the officer for “chasing” a Honda Accord involved in the wreck.
Ms. James handed up to Magistrate Grace Donalds photographs of the damage and a copy of the defendant’s previous convictions.
Defense attorney Jonathon Hughes said the offense was an unsavory incident that Mr. McFarlane now regretted. The circumstances were quite traumatic for him because his cousin had just passed away, the attorney explained. They had been close and had just been out fishing. When Mr. McFarlane came upon the scene of the crash, it had an emotional impact on him, Mr. Hughes said.
A social inquiry report indicated that the damage was an isolated incident, fueled by grief and loss. Mr. Hughes referred to other aspects of the defendant’s background. He was 30 at the time of the offense, but previous to that his last conviction was in 2013. “He has been making genuine efforts to stay out of trouble,” the attorney said.
The magistrate warned Mr. McFarlane that if the compensation is not paid through the courts office within three months, he would have to serve two months in default.
A charge of causing harassment, alarm or distress was left on file.