O’Brien guilty, receives absolute discharge

  • Oct. 25, 2006 12:00 p.m.

Travis O’Brien, the Port man charged with mischief following the municipal election last year, changed his plea to guilty Oct. 19 and received an absolute discharge for what the Crown and defence agreed was a “low-end mischief”, Eric O’Higgins writes.
Gerry Johnson, defeated after years on village council, was in his garage when he heard shouting coming from his house, according to the Crown’s reconstruction of events of last November 19, made in Blair
Sufferdine’s pre-sentence submission. Mr. Johnson emerged from the garage to confront Mr. O’Brien, who was gloating over his side’s election victory with rudeness and impropriety. Mr. O’Brien was at that point leaving the house, having found no one there.
Roderick Sutton, appearing on Mr. O’Brien’s behalf, said Mr. O’Brien feels contrite about what he acknowledged was “an error in judgement, and unsporting.” Mr. O’Brien had been working hard in the election and was celebrating the victory at the nearby firehall. He had left the party to congratulate one of the winning candidates when he decided to make his call on Mr. Johnson on the spur of the moment.
He knocked, Mr. Sutton said, at the mudroom door and again at the
inside door and thought he heard a voice telling him to enter. No bad language was used, he said, until the encounter outside the garage.
Even the complainant, Mr. Johnson, is now willing to let bygones be bygones.
Mr. O’Brien said outside the courtroom he felt he had been pilloried by a total of five news stories on what everybody now admitted was a minor matter.
He was told by this reporter that while character is freely assassinated in politics, any politician is considered by the media
to be safe from physical threat. Even a hint of that is enough to make the story newsworthy.

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