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Member of Nova Scotia legislature pleads not guilty to impaired driving charge

HALIFAX — A member of the Nova Scotia legislature has pleaded not guilty to a charge of impaired driving stemming from an alleged incident in November 2018.
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HALIFAX — A member of the Nova Scotia legislature has pleaded not guilty to a charge of impaired driving stemming from an alleged incident in November 2018.

Former Liberal backbencher Hugh MacKay's lawyer Don Murray entered the plea on his behalf on Thursday.

Murray elected to proceed with the charge as an indictable offence, rather than a less serious summary offence.

The 65-year-old politician pleaded guilty to a separate impaired driving charge last fall and was fined.

He is due back in Halifax provincial court on Dec. 7 for trial.

Following the charge by police last month, MacKay resigned from the Liberal caucus and now sits as an Independent for the riding of Chester-St. Margaret's.

In a statement sent to the media late Monday, MacKay maintained his innocence in relation to the alleged 2018 incident.

It followed a revelation in the legislature that Premier Stephen McNeil's chief of staff had been made aware last year of an allegation from within the party that MacKay drove drunk, but concluded it was unfounded.

In the statement, MacKay said the allegation had disrupted the work of the legislature and had been exploited for partisan purposes by opposition members.

He said he has struggled with alcohol addiction for some time and continues to seek treatment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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