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Halifax man charged with sexual assault in teen confinement case to stand trial

A Halifax man charged with sexual assault in the case of a teenage boy who was chained inside a Nova Scotia cabin has been committed to stand trial.

John Leonard MacKean, who is also charged with communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18, had a preliminary inquiry on Thursday at which the boy testified for about 40 minutes.

The teen wiped away tears several times as he answered questions from the Crown and defence. Evidence presented during the hearing is subject to a publication ban.

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Outside court, Crown attorney Lloyd Tancock said the hearing was difficult for the young man.

"He was very emotional, so yes, it would be exceptionally trying on him," he said.

Mr. Tancock expects fewer than six witnesses will be called at Mr. MacKean's trial.

Mr. MacKean's lawyer, Mike Taylor, said dates will be set for trial and an update on disclosure will be provided when the case returns to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater on Aug. 22.

He said the preliminary hearing allowed both sides to explore the evidence and see what the complainant was going to say at trial.

"It will help us make some decisions down the road in terms of what will happen at the actual trial," he said outside court.

Mr. MacKean refused to answer questions from reporters as he left the courthouse.

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Last month, co-accused David James LeBlanc was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.

An agreed statement of facts presented in Mr. LeBlanc's case said he offered the boy a painting job and drove him in a van from Halifax to Lunenburg County last September on the pretext of picking up painting supplies.

But the document says the boy was taken to a cabin in Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax, where he was chained inside a bedroom and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

The boy later escaped and a woman reported seeing a barefoot teenager on her doorstep, chained at his wrists and ankles.

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