Judge orders separate trials for two complainants in Wayne Hankey cases

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Wayne Hankey speaks at an event at King's in 2014. Hankey will now face three separate trials for sexual offence allegations. (CBC - image credit)
Wayne Hankey speaks at an event at King's in 2014. Hankey will now face three separate trials for sexual offence allegations. (CBC - image credit)

A Halifax provincial court judge ordered Tuesday that a trial involving two complainants alleging sexual offences by former University of King's College professor Wayne Hankey be separated into two trials.

Judge Elizabeth Buckle gave her decision on Tuesday morning, but did not immediately provide her reasons due to time constrictions and technical difficulties. She will give an explanation for her decision on Nov. 15.

Hankey, 77, has been charged with sexual assault, indecent assault and gross indecency involving three male complainants for incidents that occurred between 1977 and 1988. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial for the first complaint is scheduled for March 3. Hankey has been charged with sexual assault for an incident that took place in student housing at the University of King's College in 1988.

The trial for the second and third complainants was set for next June, but Hankey's lawyer, Stan MacDonald, argued in court last month to separate them because he said they are too different to be tried together. Crown lawyers Carla Ball and Timothy Leatch argued the cases had enough similarities that they should be tried together.

The second complaint, which involves incidents that took place between 1977 and 1979, will be heard June 6-10. Hankey has been charged with indecent assault and gross indecency in that case.

A new trial date for the third complaint, which also involves a charge of indecent assault and gross indecency, will be set Nov. 19. The complainant, who was a student Hankey was tutoring, alleges Hankey placed his hand on his leg while in his office.

There is a publication ban on the identities of all complainants.

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