Fire Chief facing Assault Charges in Fall River District Court

A fire captain is facing assault charges in Taunton in the wake of an October incident with a local businessman, the Taunton Daily Gazette reports. Taunton criminal defense lawyers see similar cases from time to time; whether a code violation, fire-safety issue or issues related to local politics or city government, such accusations can have a serious impact on the career of a city employee or public servant. When such charges are not taken seriously enough, or are not properly defended, job loss and other serious consequences can result. Fall River police report the alleged victim, Michael O'Donnell, lodged the complaint on Oct. 12, the day of the incident; he accuses Capt. Robert Bastis of grabbing him by the throat and throwing him to the ground in Fall River Housing Court. The defendant is set to be arraigned in Fall River District Court on April 8. A magistrate decided there was probable cause to proceed with the case. It's important to understand that the threshold of evidence necessary to charge a defendant — probable cause — is not as high as that needed to convict a defendant. A conviction requires a higher burden of proof. The incident occurred as the two were leaving Housing Court and was witnessed by a number of city officials, including a building superintendent, a building inspector and the city solicitor. O'Donnell has been in court on numerous occasions, defending himself against charges by the city that the Leonard Block/Star Theater building is unsafe and violates building and fire codes. City officials claim the theater is a fire hazard to adjacent buildings, including City Hall, which has been closed since police say an arsonist set fire to the attic in August. The fire chief said the department had no policy requiring a suspension for an employee facing criminal charges and as far as he was concerned the captain was acting in self defense. Fall River Criminal Defense Attorney Michael DelSignore represents clients facing all types of misdemeanor and felony charges, including assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon. The Law Offices of Michael DelSignore are conveniently located in Stoughton and Attleboro. Call (508) 455-4755 for a free consultation, 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.

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