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A Cape Breton father who posted $15,500 in property as bail for his son must now pay half of the amount after failing to inform police his son was not abiding by his release conditions.
Francis O’Neill of Frenchvale was tagged with the $7,750 penalty after admitting he failed to let police know his son, Cory Todd O’Neill, 37, was not adhering to his release conditions.
The younger O’Neill was released on conditions in May 2017 but two days later he was back in jail charged with breaching his release conditions and facing additional charges of assault, mischief and uttering threats.
The father told the court that after posting bail, his son informed him he was going to register for a detox program and assumed he was in a program when he didn’t return to the residence where he was ordered to live.
Police arrested the son in Sydney in connection with a disturbance at the Towerview Place apartment. O’Neill was also charged with assaulting his girlfriend with whom he was ordered to have no contact.
The father insisted he did call police to report the breach but prosecutor Peter Harrison introduced a statement the man gave to police in which he admitted he didn’t call police.
“I thought I did what I was supposed to do. I thought he was in detox,” claimed the father, during a forfeiture hearing in Supreme Court.
“While the primary responsibility (to abide by conditions) rests with the accused, you also have a responsibility as a surety. You should have called police,” said Justice Robin Gogan, in granting the Crown’s request for half of the posted bond.
Gogan noted the father knew his son was in contact with his girlfriend and that it was his obligation to report such to police.
“I realize you had faith in what he was telling you but you understood your obligations. This is an example of why we enforce these orders,” said the judge, in granting a one-year term to pay.
During the brief hearing, Cory Todd repeatedly interrupted his father in giving his side of events and at one point commented that his father didn’t know what he was talking about.
“You don’t talk to your father like that,” said the judge, in scolding the son.
In another case, William James O’Connell, 34, of Sydney Mines was ordered to pay $3,000 of his bail total after previously pleading guilty to violating the curfew provisions of his former release order along with residency requirement.
He was given 18 months to pay.
The risks and responsibilities of signing on to being a surety are routinely explained to individuals by Crown and defence lawyers and even judges.
As noted by Gogan, individuals serving as a surety must ensure they report all breaches to police or face the possibility of losing part of all of the amount posted for bail.