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Canada Assault trial of former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle faces possible delay

Joshua Boyle arrives at court in Ottawa on April 19, 2019.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The assault trial of former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle faces a possible delay of several months due to legal wrangling over allowable evidence.

Mr. Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario court to offences against his wife, Caitlan Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in late 2017 after the couple returned to Canada following five years as hostages at the hands of extremists who seized them during a backpacking trip to Asia.

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Ms. Coleman’s lawyer, Ian Carter, says he will ask the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to challenge a ruling handed down Wednesday that allows Mr. Boyle to introduce evidence concerning certain consensual sexual activity with his wife.

The ruling is important because the law sets out limits on the extent to which an accused person can bring up an alleged victim’s sexual history during a trial.

Mr. Carter plans to ask the judge presiding over Mr. Boyle’s trial for a stay of the ruling while the Supreme Court process plays out – a move that could effectively put the criminal proceedings on hold for several months.

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