Former Halifax professor to face third trial beginning in May 2022

·2 min read
Wayne Hankey is shown in 2014 at a luncheon for students. (Dalhousie University - image credit)
Wayne Hankey is shown in 2014 at a luncheon for students. (Dalhousie University - image credit)

A former Halifax professor accused of historical sexual offences will face his third trial on historical sex assault charges beginning in May of 2022.

Wayne John Hankey, 77, is charged with sexual assault, gross indecency and indecent assault involving three male complainants for incidents between 1977 and 1988.

Hankey, a longtime professor at the University of King's College and a former Anglican minister, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In Halifax provincial court on Friday, trial dates were selected for Hankey to face charges of indecent assault and gross indecency in relation to a 1982 incident. There will be a pretrial conference on Jan. 14, 2022, as well as half-day trials on May 24, 2022, and June 23, 2022.

The complainant, who was 18 at the time, alleges he went to Hankey's office on the University of King's College campus for a tutoring session with the professor one day in September of that year. He says Hankey moved his chair closer to the complainant and put his hand on the complainant's leg under his shorts.

The case was originally to be heard together with another allegation involving a different complainant in June, but Hankey's lawyer, Stan MacDonald, successfully applied earlier this month to separate the two trials. He argued that the cases were too dissimilar and would be defended differently.

MacDonald has said the defence in the third trial would likely be based on denial, and that Hankey may not even testify.

Earlier Friday, the trial was scheduled to take place on Dec. 19, 2022, but Crown lawyer Carla Ball expressed concern with the date, as it would fall outside the Jordan rule, which sets an 18-month time limit between the laying of charges and the anticipated end of a trial in provincial court.

The charges were announced by Halifax regional police on April 13, and were sworn in on May 26.

The court reconvened later in the day and found the two half-days earlier in the year for the trial to take place.

2 other cases

The trial involving the first complainant is scheduled to take place on March 3, 2022. In that case, Hankey is accused of sexually assaulting a student in his dorm room at King's in 1988.

The complainant, who was 23 at the time, alleges that Hankey entered his room, straddled him on the bed and grabbed his buttocks and genitals.

The trial involving the second complainant is set for June 6-10, 2022.

In that case, the complainant, who was 18 at the time, alleges Hankey invited him to go swimming at the campus pool in 1977 and touched his genitals in the shower afterward. Other encounters involving sexualized contact between Hankey and the complainant followed over the next couple of years.

Hankey is facing charges of indecent assault and gross indecency in that case.

The identities of the complainants are under a publication ban.

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