Crown withdraws sexual assault charge against former Dartmouth doctor

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Graeme Bethune is seen in this file photo from 2017. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia revoked Bethune's medical licence in 2020.   (Carolyn Ray/CBC - image credit)
Graeme Bethune is seen in this file photo from 2017. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia revoked Bethune's medical licence in 2020. (Carolyn Ray/CBC - image credit)

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge dismissed a sexual assault charge against a former Dartmouth, N.S., doctor on Thursday after the Crown announced it would offer no evidence in the matter.

Graeme Bethune was scheduled to be tried by judge and jury in April 2023.

A former patient accused the former doctor of sexually assaulting her during house calls in the mid-2000s.

The defence and the Crown agreed that the case could be dismissed as the Crown would not offer any evidence.

Justice Peter Rosinski dismissed the charges.

A hearing is scheduled for late August to have a publication ban lifted in connection to the sexual assault trial. The Crown has already filed its materials for that hearing.

"There was an issue about whether or not these charges could be withdrawn when there was a pending hearing scheduled for Aug. 23 to have a publication ban lifted," Crown attorney Emma Woodburn told Rosinski.

"But both parties have researched this issue and both have agreed that the publication ban lift hearing can still proceed regardless of the charges being withdrawn or the Crown offering no evidence today," Woodburn said.

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said in a statement that the case did not pass the first part of their prosecutorial test.

"There was no realistic prospect of conviction. When that happens, the Crown has an obligation to stop the prosecution, which is why no evidence was offered and the charges were dismissed," said the statement.

The publication ban case will be heard by Justice Timothy Gabriel on Aug. 23. The complainant wants the publication ban protecting her identity to be lifted.

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