AMHERST – An Amherst defence lawyer likes to quote Mark Twain.
It seems rumours of Jim O’Neil’s death are greatly exaggerated. It fact, he’s very much alive.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s the most unusual thing I’ve ever experienced,” O’Neil said Wednesday. “I’ve received emails from all over Cumberland County and as far away as Vancouver. Although I’ve sent out more than 1,000 emails, the rumours still persist. I had a phone call from a lawyer yesterday because he had been told by clients that I’d apparently committed suicide.”
O’Neil said he received a phone all from the sheriff last Friday telling him the town was talking about recent death. After assuring the sheriff that he was very much alive, he received another call from a Crown attorney saying the RCMP had called to report on his death.
“I asked the Crown to call the police, not to disclose that I was still alive and ask them if they had had party to celebrate my passing,” he said, tongue-in-cheek.
O’Neil has no idea where the rumours started, but thinks someone may have mixed his name up with lawyer Hubert MacNeill. A longtime respected lawyer MacNeill died in December.
“That’s the only thing I can think of. Someone got my named mixed up with Hubert MacNeill and it went from there,” O’Neil said. “Once it hit social media it went viral.
“I want to reassure everybody that I am alive and I’ve never been healthier,” O’Neil said. “I’ve been practicing law in Amherst for more than 20 years and intend to continue for the next 20 years, God willing.”