The case of Falmouth businessman Daren J. McDonald misleading police will move forward after a judge on Thursday denied the defense’s motion to dismiss.
Mr. McDonald is charged with intimidating a witness in connection with an August 16 incident at a party in which two Falmouth teenagers allegedly beat another teen unconscious. He is the father of one of the male juveniles who is being charged with assault and battery in juvenile court. Mr. McDonald allegedly misrepresented information to investigating officers on the whereabouts of his son during the time of the party.
The defendant’s attorney, Peter A. Lloyd, made a case for dismissal in Falmouth District Court April 22, arguing there is no probable cause that his client willfully misled the police and he had “no intent to impede or interfere with the criminal investigation.”
After listening to both the defense attorney and Assistant District Attorney Brian Deegan, Falmouth District Court Judge Patrick Malone swiftly ruled against the defense’s argument and concluded there was probable cause.
Mr. McDonald pleaded not guilty on March 9 to misleading Falmouth police by allegedly telling them that his son had not been at the party and instead was playing hockey in New Hampshire. He also allegedly told other parents to corroborate his story with police.
Police conducted several interviews after the party with juveniles who were at the party and their parents, including Mr. McDonald and his son. Several witnesses told police that Mr. McDonald’s son was at the party and involved in the fight. The fight occurred at a home on Blacksmith Shop Road where two teens allegedly repeatedly punched and kicked another teen in the head until—and after—he was unconscious, sending the victim to the hospital.
Mr. Lloyd built his case for dismissal around a 2016 Massachusetts case, the Commonwealth v. Raymond Zachary Paquette, regarding misleading a police officer.
“The case concludes that every false statement given to police is not misleading where the police know it was false at the time it was given,” he said.
“I would suggest during the entire time my client was speaking to the police, the police had info and they knew Mr. McDonald was not being accurate, but I would suggest it was not done on purpose.”
Mr. Lloyd told Judge Malone on the first call with police the day after the fight, his client gives police accurate information regarding the other youth involved, where it took place, and identifies some of the kids at the party by name.
“All of what he said was true, except the statement, ‘my son was not at that party,’” he said.
However, police do not believe Mr. McDonald because they have witnesses that his son was there. “So, police are not being misled,” he said.
He furthers the argument when he said Mr. McDonald was being truthful based on the information he had at the time when he talk with police. Eighteen minutes after the first call with police, Mr. McDonald speaks again to police after having a conversation with his son, Mr. Lloyd said.
“He tells police his son is not at the party because he was in New Hampshire playing hockey. What father hasn’t had a teenage son lie to him about his whereabouts?
“Four hours later Mr. McDonald and son appear in police station together, when he tells officers he found out later on his son was at the party.
“Police don’t feel son is being truthful in his statements provided in the station. Why would we think the son has been truthful to his father on whereabouts that particular night?” Mr. Lloyd asked.
The attorney also attempted to weaken the police report on which the criminal complaint is based by saying the Falmouth police did not identify or offer witnesses to prove Mr. McDonald asked them to lie to police.
“Detective Carpenter identifies no witness, no parent, no victim whatsoever that was instructed not to talk to investigating officers, or if they did talk to investigating officers, to give a version of the events other than the truth,” Mr. Lloyd said.
Assistant District Attorney Deegan countered with information suggesting Mr. McDonald was knowingly lying to officers about the hockey tournament in New Hampshire.
“I know for a fact that my son was not there and I have adult witnesses who were with us in the truck driving to NH to prove it,” Mr. Deegan said, repeating what Mr. McDonald told police according to the police report.
He said Mr. McDonald was misleading police with that statement and when police pressed him on his child being at the scene, Mr. McDonald said, “You have the wrong Darren.”
Mr. Deegan also presented evidence that Mr. McDonald had been in contact with other parents.
“One of the juveniles told police during an interview that Mr. McDonald texted, asking it to have his father call him, suggesting Mr. McDonald had been in communication with parents.”
He further suggested Mr. McDonald was connected to the people involved and the circumstances when he said the host of the party was dating Mr. McDonald’s son.
“The host of party was supposed to be staying with McDonald and his family as the mother was out of town,” he said.
The prosecutor also said Mr. McDonald sent to videos to police with information on who was in the fight.
“He suggests other names, other than his son’s, in the fight,” he said.
Both sides are due back in court on May 7 when the prosecutor is to turn information over to the defense.
Judge Malone ordered the police report in the case impounded, meaning it is unavailable for public inspection. The prosecution earlier told the judge there were several dates of birth and some first names of juveniles in the redacted report.