PICTOU – A Stellarton man accused of letting his dog run freely in the town has had his charge stayed.
David Joseph Fields, 53, was charged on April 3 for allowing his dog to run at large on Feb. 26 in Stellarton. If found guilty, Fields could have faced a fine between $100 and $1,000.
Fields entered a not guilty plea on April 14 and after four additional court appearances, the charge was stayed Friday when a possible conflict was declared by Bronwyn Duffy, who was representing the Town of Stellarton.
Fields represented himself during the trial that heard testimony on Sept. 6 from Stellarton Police Inspector Ambrose Heighton. Heighton, the complainant in the case, is also listed as the police informant on court documents.
During the trial, Fields told the court he didn’t feel he was getting full disclosure from Duffy and wanted a recent Nova Scotia Police Review Board decision brought before the court that could be used to challenge Heighton’s credibility as a witness.
Heighton was fired in 2008 from the Town of Stellarton after he was accused of writing and distributing an anonymous letter implicating several RCMP officers in sex parties, drug use and other embarrassing or unprofessional conduct. Heighton appealed the town’s decision to fire him and the matter went before the Police Review Board. It determined that Heighton had penned the letter and by doing so had engaged in discreditable conduct.
On April 13, 2012, it ruled however that Heighton shouldn’t have been fired. The board said he should be reinstated at one rank lower than chief, the position he held when the accusations were made. He is now an inspector with the Stellarton police.
The court took a brief recess to determine that the police board decision was available online so no disclosure was necessary from Duffy, however, the conflict of interest could be a problem if Fields planned on using this decision as evidence and cross-examining Heighton on the document.
Duffy is a partner in the same law firm as Hector MacIsaac, who represented the Town of Stellarton during the tribunal.
Judge Del Atwood addressed the possible conflict and suggested another court date be set so that a new lawyer could represent the town on the dog matter, but Duffy returned after a short recess and said the charge would be stayed.