A former Dartmouth, N.S., doctor must wait nearly two years before going to trial on a charge os sexual assault.
A former patient accused Graeme Bethune of sexually assaulting her during house calls in the mid-2000s. He has opted to be tried by a judge and jury, and the earliest dates that can be found for the eight-day trial are in April 2023.
The dates were set during an appearance in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Thursday morning. Associate Chief Justice Patrick Duncan said as COVID-19 restrictions ease, it may be possible to open up more courtrooms for jury trials, which may free up earlier dates for Bethune.
But as it stands now, Duncan said only the two specially-built, COVID-compliant courtrooms in Dartmouth are capable of handling jury trials for the Halifax area.
Prospective jurors in the Bethune trial will be subject to extra screening because of pre-trial publicity through a process known as challenge for cause. They'll be asked whether they've heard anything about the case, and, if so, whether they can put it out of their minds and focus only on the trial evidence.
Bethune remains free on conditions.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia revoked his licence to practice medicine last year.
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