Wilbur Dedam released on bail pending appeal of sex crimes conviction

Ex-Esgenoôpetitj chief Dedam's appeal adjourned over possible error in sex crimes trial

Wilbur Dedam, the former chief of Esgenoôpetit First Nation, has been released from prison while he waits to appeal his conviction on six charges of sexual assault.

Defence lawyer T.J. Burke believes the Supreme Court of Canada's recent decision that Dennis Oland was wrongly denied bail pending his appeal of his second-degree murder conviction played a big role.

"This is a process that takes considerable amount of time and we're happy for our client that he's able to be at home with loved ones, awaiting his opportunity to appear at the high court," Burke told CBC News.

​Dedam, 64, was sentenced to nine years in prison in December after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting three girls in the community between 1977-85.

His lawyers filed an interim motion for release, pending final disposition of the appeal, arguing he is not a threat to the public.

Dedam was released Tuesday on strict conditions and will live at his home until his court date in October, said Burke.

The defence team has hired another lawyer from Toronto to assist with the appeal, he said.

Under the Criminal Code, bail may be granted pending appeal if: the appeal is not frivolous; the convict will surrender into custody when the time comes; and the detention is not necessary in the public interest.