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Former hostage Joshua Boyle faces four new criminal charges

Held hostage by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan, Boyle will undergo a psychiatric assessment following his arrest on January 1.

by Kieran Delamont
Jan 26 2018, 5:16pm

Canadian Press

Joshua Boyle, the Ottawa man who was held hostage by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan with his wife and children for five years and who was arrested on charges of assault and sexual assault earlier this year, faces four new charges and will undergo a two-month psychiatric assessment before his case goes to trial.

Boyle, who was arrested on January 1 for fifteen charges including sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement, is now facing charges of assault with a weapon and criminal harassment. Neither of those two charges had previously been announced. He is also facing additional charges of assault and forcible confinement.

Boyle was in court on Friday morning, for a brief appearance lasting around five minutes.

Boyle’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, downplayed the significance of the new charges, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse. “Substantively, nothing has changed,” he said. “I’m not going to get into the new charges. It’s not a matter of great moment.”

The new charges are not the result of new evidence or information, say Boyle’s lawyers. Police allege that the offenses occurred between October 14, when Boyle returned to Ottawa with his wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children, and December 30.

The specifics of Boyle’s charges, including the identity of two alleged victims, remain covered by a publication ban. But the docket, posted outside the courtroom, listed four new charges that had been laid since January 15. The charges now include:

  • Nine counts of assault
  • Two counts of sexual assault
  • One count of assault with a weapon
  • Three counts of unlawful confinement
  • One count of criminal harassment
  • One count of administering a noxious substance
  • One count of uttering threats
  • One count of public mischief

More information was unavailable, as the court said that Boyle’s court records would not be publicly available until Monday afternoon.

While Boyle has been deemed fit to stand trial by Dr. Adekunle Garba Ahmed, a forensic psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, his lawyers requested that he undergo a two-month psychiatric assessment to get a clearer picture of his mental state before bail proceedings.

“He’s been through five years as a hostage,” said Greenspon. “It should be no surprise to anybody that as a result of that, it’s affected his mental health.” The assessment, he said, will “go a long way to determine how we deal with the matter going forward.”

Dr. Ahmed could not be reached for comment Friday.

In one of few public statements made to the Toronto Star, Boyle’s wife, Caitlan Coleman, said on January 2 that “it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this.”

Boyle will now be transferred from the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, where he has been held since his arrest, to the forensic treatment unit at the Brockville Mental Health Centre, until his next court appearance on March 26, 2018.

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