Political future in judges hands

Darrell Cole
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HALIFAX - The fate of Ernie Fage's political career may very well depend on what happens in a Halifax courtroom today.
The veteran Cumberland North MLA will appear in court to learn if he's guilty or not guilty of a charge of leaving the scene of an accident last November in Halifax.
Fage's three-day trial wrapped up in Halifax in late November with Judge Bill Digby reserving his decision.
The Hastings resident and longtime politician was charged earlier this year after he allegedly left the scene of a two-car collision in a downtown Halifax street last Nov. 24.
It's alleged Fage departed without exchanging information with the other driver or reporting the accident within 24 hours, as required by law.
Under the province's Motor Vehicle Act, anyone involved in a minor accident does not have to wait for police to arrive, but they must exchange information with the other drivers and report the accident to police within 24 hours.
Fage has been charged with a less-serious summary offence, for which the maximum penalty is six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.
During testimony, witnesses, including prominent politicians and a popular media figure, testified they saw Fage drinking at a Halifax pub shortly before the crash. Those on the scene of the collision, reported that Fage smelled of alcohol.
In his testimony, Fage said he didn't feel safe after photographer David Gamble stopped at the accident scene. He said Gamble walked up to his car as he sat inside, grabbed the top of the window and said: "You're drunk and I'm (expletive) going to get you."
Fage currently represents the riding of Cumberland North as an Independent after stepping down as human resources minister on Jan. 4 after a local television station broadcast pictures of the crash scene and a video taken by Gamble, who had followed Fage to a parkade under a nearby apartment building.
Fage, first elected to the legislature in a 1997 byelection, was suspended from the Conservative caucus after he was charged by police.


Geographic location: HALIFAX, Hastings, Cumberland North

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