Lawyer accused of sexually assaulting girl arraigned in Supreme Court

·2 min read
The case of a lawyer accused of sexually assaulting a girl in the early 2000s, then continuing to assault her in adulthood, was called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on Monday.  (Eddy Kennedy/CBC - image credit)
The case of a lawyer accused of sexually assaulting a girl in the early 2000s, then continuing to assault her in adulthood, was called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on Monday. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC - image credit)

A Newfoundland and Labrador lawyer facing charges in relation to historic sexual assaults was arraigned in provincial Supreme Court in St. John's on Monday.

The man, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, has elected a trial by judge and jury. A seven-day trial is scheduled to begin May 29, 2023.

According to the indictment, he is alleged to have sexually touched and sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 14 in 2002.

Previously released court documents obtained by CBC News indicate the girl was 12 at the time, and the alleged assault occurred in her mother's car outside the accused's law office.

He is alleged to have committed another sexual assault against her six years later, when she was a teenager.

He is facing two other sexual assault charges stemming from incidents sometime in 2012 and 2013, involving the same female.

He has entered not guilty pleas.

Ban remains in place

In late March, Supreme Court Justice James Adams extended a publication ban shielding the accused's name from being reported in relation to those criminal proceedings, pending a potential review by Canada's top court.

Publication bans are common in sexual assault cases, but to protect the identity of an alleged victim, not the accused.

CBC News and CTV News successfully argued the ban would interfere with the open-court principle, and freedom of the press.

Adams sided with the media.

"Justice done in secrecy is contrary to the tenets of a democratic society," Adams wrote in his decision at the time.

The judge noted that the lawyer was asking the court "to make a significant change in the law."

The lawyer had argued that revealing his identity would deprive him of the presumption of innocence, negatively affect his reputation and undermine his dignity.

After Adams's decision, he successfully argued that the ban should remain in place until he seeks leave to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The top court has yet to decide whether it will hear the case.

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