David Allan Murphy had also been charged with impaired driving, a charge that was stayed by Crown attorney David O’Brien after the 46-year-old entered his guilty plea on the charge of refusing a breathalyzer demand.
Murphy, a 22-year veteran with Summerside Police Services and a corporal, was on leave from his job when, on Nov. 5, he was involved in a two-vehicle collision at the corner of Central Street and Pope Road.
Murphy rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped behind another at the stoplight at the intersection of Central Street and Pope Road just after 1 p.m.
Members of Murphy’s department were called to the scene and immediately detected signs of impairment. Murphy’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. Murphy initially agreed to provide a breath sample, but when it came time to do so, refused. He later refused a second time.
Murphy, who was on leave from the department at the time due to health issues, was taken to Prince County Hospital, where he spent the night, while under police custody.
Murphy’s lawyer, Mitchell MacLeod, said his client had been on long-term disability for 11 months when the crime occurred.
He was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and during his leave from the force Murphy’s “issues with addiction to alcohol festered, culminating with the incident on Nov. 5,” explained MacLeod.
He added that Murphy is “extremely remorseful and ashamed” with his “lack of judgment” in driving while impaired.
“His judgment suffered significantly because of his (PTSD) illness.”
Murphy voluntarily stayed in hospital until Nov. 21 “to ensure he would be in the proper condition to enter into inpatient treatment,” said MacLeod.
He then entered an Ontario treatment facility, where he remained until Dec. 21 and where he was assessed for followup treatment for PTSD, which he will enter into in April.
MacLeod pointed out that since Murphy’s return to the Island, he has entered into followup treatment and is “prepared to go to any lengths to maintain his sobriety.”
“He still faces the internal process through his employer,” added MacLeod.
Judge Jeff Lantz, in sentencing Murphy, said due to Murphy’s refusal to provide a breath sample there was no way of knowing the extent of his impairment.
In addition to jail time, Lantz fined Murphy $1,300 and ordered him to pay a $195 victim surcharge.
He is also suspended from driving for 12 months.