Hynes sentenced to three years for being accessory to murder

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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SYDNEY — A 34-year-old former Glace Bay man was sentenced Monday to serve three years in a federal prison after admitting he helped dispose of the body of a murdered 21-year-old woman.

John Wayne Hynes

John Wayne Hynes, now of Halifax, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder in disposing of the body of Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon in 2006.

He confessed that he helped Thomas Ted Barrett, 38, of Glace Bay, dispose of what he believed to be a body inside a rolled carpet near the Cameron Bowl in Glace Bay in 2006.

McKinnon's skeletal remains were found in 2008 about a kilometre away from where Hynes said he and Barrett left the carpet. When the remains were discovered, there was no sign of the carpet leading police and the Crown to suspect the remains were later moved. The exact cause of McKinnon's death has not been revealed.

"This crime represents a substantial interference with the administration of justice," said Supreme Court Justice Frank Edwards, in passing sentence Monday.

Edwards accepted the Crown recommendation for a three-year sentence and rejected the defence recommendation of a conditional sentence which would have allowed Hynes to serve his time in the community.

"I believe the public would be justifiably outraged if I did so," said Edwards, in reference to imposing a conditional sentence.

Hynes is also banned from possessing firearms for the remainder of his life and must submit a DNA sample to the national registry.

Edwards did award credit for time — 651 days — Hynes has spent on remand which reduces the time to be served to just over a year.

As noted by Edwards in his decision, the only evidence against Hynes came from himself in a January 2013 statement to police in which he said he first told a Cape Breton Regional Police officer in 2006 that he had information about Barrett and McKinnon.

But despite at least six other contacts with police between 2006 and 2013, Hynes did not disclose what he knew fearing he would be labelled a rat and that he would suffer reprisals from Barrett.

Edwards said while it is true Hynes made some attempt to co-operate with police in 2006, it is unfortunate he did not follow through until he gave a statement in 2013.

The judge said it would be easy to suggest that police should have gone to Hynes and tried to be more persuasive in getting him to talk.

"There is no reason to believe Hynes would have been any more forthcoming," said Edwards, adding police had previously tried to get Hynes to talk but to no avail.

He concluded that despite Hynes claim he feared Barrett, his refusal to co-operate with police was the result of a misguided loyalty to a friend or an adherence to a subculture code of silence.

Until McKinnon's remains were found, Cape Breton Regional Police were treating the investigation as a missing person.

Hynes admitted that he, Barrett, McKinnon and another girl were doing crack cocaine at Barrett's home in June 2006 when he left to buy more baking soda in order to cook the crack.

He returned to the home but was unable to get in so he left the baking soda on the front step.

A week or two later, he returned to Barrett's home and helped him remove a rolled carpet from a bedroom and place it in the trunk of Barrett's car.

Barrett is charged with second-degree murder in relation to McKinnon's death. He and Morgan MacNeil, 23, are also charged with second-degree murder in relation to the May 2012 death of Laura Catherine Jessome.

Both accused are scheduled to appear in court next month to determine if a preliminary hearing will proceed.

Geographic location: Glace Bay, Cape Breton

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