Hardy not indicted by grand jury

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 22, 2001

The Lincoln County Grand Jury last week issued 72 newindictments, but a high school coach and former police officeraccused of aggravated assault was not among those charged, courtofficials said.

Grand jurors did not issue an indictment in a case againstPatrick Hardy, 26, of 209 Avalon St. He had been arrested onaggravated assault, domestic violence and other charges following aJan. 8 chase involving his ex-wife and her friend, county and citylaw enforcement officers.

Citing rumors and innuendo, Hardy’s attorney Joe Fernald saidthere was a “tremendous amount of misinformation” about theincident. Fernald said Hardy’s case was the first time he had aclient testify before the grand jury to refute the charges againsthim.

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“He came through with flying colors,” Fernald said of Hardy. “Itwas clear he was not guilty of what they said.”

Fernald described the incident as a simple domestic disagreementthat had been blown out of proportion. The attorney said Hardy didnot shoot at anyone and did not attempt to get away fromauthorities during a stop in the pursuit.

Hardy, a city police officer from July 1997-August 2000, wasreleased from jail Friday morning after the grand jury report wasprocessed. Fernald said Hardy would resume his teaching andcoaching job at Brookhaven High School on Monday morning.

Hardy’s case was among seven in which there were no indictmentsissued, court officials said. Sixteen cases were continued forfurther investigation following the three-day grand jury term thatconcluded Thursday evening.

Grand jury deliberations on indictments are private and noattorneys are present, but Assistant District Attorney JerryRushing said a lack of probable cause and insufficient evidencewere reasons for no indictments.

“That’s usually why they don’t indict,” Rushing said.

Of the 72 indictments issued, Rushing said a lot were DUI cases.He said the cases happened after Sept. 1, so anyone convicted willserve a minimum of one year in prison under newly-enactedsentencing laws.

Court officials said there were also a few burglary cases andsome drug cases. Rushing said there were no cases involving deathsand he indicated that was a good sign.

“Any crime is too much crime, but there were no capital cases oranything like that,” Rushing said.

The names of people indicted are not made public until theaccused is served with court papers. Once that is done, thedefendants will appear in circuit court for arraignment andscheduling of trial dates.