Former N.S. cabinet minister Ernie Fage charged
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, February 20, 2007 5:19PM EST
Police in Halifax have charged former Nova Scotia cabinet minister Ernie Fage with leaving the scene of an accident, more than three months after the incident.
Const. Jeff Carr said officials needed more time than usual to investigate the matter, because of intense media focus.
"As a result of the coverage, a lot of people came forward who subsequently became people we had to interview," Carr told reporters.
He added that it's unlikely any more charges will be laid.
"The charges that are laid are based on the evidence that we gathered," he said.
"With this charge, it is alleged that the individual fled the scene with the intent to escape civil or criminal liability."
George Myrer and Steve Bezanson, employees with the Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper say they were hit from behind while stopped at a traffic light.
Myrer said he and Bezanson got out of their vehicle to talk to the other driver, and that he allegedly could smell alcohol on him.
He also said when he asked the driver for information, the man got into his car and drove off before police arrived.
Professional photographer David Gamble witnessed the accident and followed the driver, taking photos and video with his cell phone.
None of the men recognized Fage at the time, but police eventually connected the vehicle to the former minister.
Seven days after the accident Fage reported the collision to police.
The fallout later reached Premier Rodney MacDonald's office when it was revealed two senior staffers knew about the accident earlier than previously stated.
Fage resigned human resources minister in early January, saying because he didn't want to be a distraction for the government. Previously on leave from caucus, MacDonald suspended him on Tuesday after the charged was laid.
Fage is not charged with an alcohol-related offence, reportedly because police did not have evidence to lay the charge.
He will appear in court on April 5.
Prosecutors can pursue the failure to remain charge either by indictment or by summary conviction, and can result in penalties from probation or a fine to five years in prison.