District Court denies bail to defendant seeking cancer treatment
Rockland — A 26-year-old Rockland man with lymphoma was denied bail Sept. 12 in Sixth District Court.
Christopher Gamage is in Knox County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of theft for receiving stolen property. He appeared before Judge Susan Sparaco for a bail review of a motion to revoke for failing to pay restitution and failing to go to his probation officer.
"He admits to allegations in both motions, but was denied bail to get his medical records and get treatment," said defense attorney William Maddox.
Gamage had missed a probation appearance on June 24, 2009 because he was at the Dana Farber Institute in Boston receiving treatment for Stage 4 Lymphoma and failed to appear for his court-appointed meeting.
"Because he was at Dana Farber, he missed his appointment and was charged again and given another motion to revoke his probation," said Maddox.
Meanwhile, Gamage said he received a letter from his probation officer saying he was off probation, and therefore he did not keep any further appointments. Maddox said his client was nearing the end of his probation period by the time he was at Dana Farber and thought the letter plausible.
"Then they issued a warrant for his arrest, and two years later they caught up with him and held him in jail for a month," Maddox said.
Gamage said he missed his latest appearance because he thought he was off probation, said Maddox. His client is unable produce the letter that he said took him off probation, he said.
Maddox argued for credit for time served and reminded the court that Gamage had just paid the $1,460 restitution for his crimes, albeit three years later.
Gamage said he had had the money earlier to pay restitution, but he gave it to his mother to pay for him while he went to Dana Farber, and instead she spent it on her needs.
Sparaco said she found that story hard to believe.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald asked for full revocation, which would mean an additional six months in jail.
"I find it hard to believe he thought he was getting off probation," Fernald said. "He needed to show up in court."
Maddox argued that although his client is in remission from his cancer, he is being seen at the Patrick Dempsey Treatment Center in Lewiston, where doctors have recently found a decrease of white cells in his blood and want to do further testing.
The judge denied bail, saying that he could get medical treatment in jail.
"It may not be the treatment you want," she said, "but it's treatment."
Maddox said his client is back in jail, not knowing the length of his sentence.
"Presumably it's for the six months that Mr. Fernald asked for, and I guess the judge was going along with that, but she never made it clear," said Maddox.
In other business before the court, a man who told his attorney he had a couple of drinks to boost his courage before he went to court on a drunken driving charge, was allowed to be released on $1,000 cash bail with a Maine pretrial contract.
John R. Whoriskey, 47, of Spruce Head, was taken to Knox County Jail after fleeing from the courthouse Sept. 10 because he learned that Justice Jeffrey Hjelm was going to order a breathalyzer test, said Whoriskey's defense attorney Lawrence Frier.
Whoriskey faced a new charge of violation of condition of release because he had alcohol on his breath when he showed up for court. The smell of alcohol was detected by a security guard. Whoriskey attempted to run away and was caught and arrested.
When Frier told the court that Whoriskey just had a couple of drinks Monday, Sparaco said it took more than a couple of drinks for him to "blow .14."
"You have a substance abuse problem," she told Whoriskey, who replied that he had already made arrangements for residential treatment.
He was rescheduled to be in superior court Sept. 14, for a trial on the OUI charge.
In another case, Arthur Marriner, 47, of Rockland pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic violence assault and violation of condition of release. Fernald said the state was asking for $5,000 cash bail because of the seriousness of the assault and the defendant's criminal history dating back to 1984.
The judge set cash bail at $5,000 and ordered that Marriner sign up for a Maine Pretrial Service agreement and have no contact with the victim. A trial was set for Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8:30 a.m. in Knox County Superior Court.
John Alan Drinkwater, 27, of Spruce Head faced old charges of bail violation, domestic violence assault, and criminal mischief and a new charge of violation of condition of release. He was represented on all counts by defense attorney Jeremy Pratt.
The state argued for $1,000 cash bail, but Pratt asked for $600 bail for both cases and that he be released to attend a memorial service that night for his grandmother. He also said that Maine Pretrial Service would take his client back.
The judge granted the $600 bail with a Maine pretrial contract.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.