FEATURED IN SOUTH COAST TODAY:
NEW BEDFORD — An assault case brought by state Rep. Chris Markey, D-Dartmouth, against a political consultant has been sent to a regional judge in Brockton for assignment, Dartmouth Police Chief Timothy M. Lee said Thursday.
The action stemming from an assault on Markey, allegedly by David J. Oliveira, 44, of Dartmouth, a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and representataive to the Steamship Authority, was taken because of Markey’s relationship with New Bedford District Court as a former Bristol prosecutor, the chief said.
According to a statement Markey gave to Dartmouth police, he and Oliveira argued because Oliveira blamed him for not getting a state job.
Markey called Dartmouth police Thursday morning and requested a clerk-magistrate’s hearing, a procedure in which a clerk hears both sides and decides whether there is probable cause to proceed with the case.
Lee said Dartmouth police support Markey’s request and have forwarded it to the court. “That’s up to him. He can request anything he wants. He’s the victim,” the chief said. The request marks a potential change in course for the case.
Dartmouth police filed paperwork Wednesday in New Bedford District Court requesting court officials issue a criminal complaint against Oliveira for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, causing serious bodily injury. The charge carries penalties of up to 15 years in jail
Markey, 45, a two-term state representative, was hospitalized for two days with a collapsed right lung and possible rib fracture after, he says, Oliveira pushed him against a corrugated steel wall Saturday at the Cushman Elementary School in Dartmouth.
“He’s asking that it be handled in a less serious way,” Lee said.
Dartmouth Detective George Perry, the department’s court liaison officer, said a regional judge will decide whether a clerk-magistrate from another location will hear the case in New Bedford District Court or the case will be moved entirely out of the New Bedford court.
But if the case had proceeded as originally intended, a clerk magistrate could have issued a warrant for Oliveira’s arrest, a summons for him to appear before a judge for arraignment or scheduled a clerk’s hearing, according to Dartmouth Lt. Robert Szala.
Markey said Thursday he believes the incident warrants a charge of assault and battery and that a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is an “overcharge.”
“I think it’s an assault and battery and when it’s an assault and battery the law requires a clerk’s hearing because it is a misdemeanor,” he said.
“I would rather have it done properly the first time than have a complaint issued and have to hold a clerk’s hearing down the line,” he said. “It’s a serious matter. I’m aware of how the process works.”
Defense attorney Frank Camera said he also would prefer the matter be resolved at a clerk- magistrate hearing. He said his client does not have a criminal record and a clerk- magistrate could find no probable cause or find probable cause and not issue a complaint.
“I would prefer it be resolved there and no further,” he said.
Camera called the incident “unfortunate” and said Oliveira “regrets” what happened and wishes Markey a speedy recovery. He stopped short, however, of admitting guilt.
“You have to live with the decisions you make and he (Oliveira) regrets the entire incident,” he said.