Friday, November 28, 2003
Jacques Leduc, canon lawyer for the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, to
argue for appeal in Project Truth case in front of
Supreme Court of Canada
Jacques Leduc, facing retrial on charges linked
to a Cornwall, sex scandal, will get to
argue an application for appeal before Canada's highest court.
The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday granted
Leduc a rare oral hearing in the matter of an Ontario ruling last summer
that overturned a lower courts stay on charges against him and set
aside nearly $300,000 awarded to him in damages.
Leduc was charged in 1998 with eight counts of
sexual exploitation involving three teenaged boys after he was
implicated by Project Truth, a lengthy provincial police probe into sex
allegations against prominent people in the Cornwall area.
The case against him was stayed in March 2001
after defence lawyers convinced Superior Court Justice James Chadwick
that the Crown had deliberately withheld evidence.
However, Ontario's Court of Appeal overturned
that ruling in July, calling it so clearly wrong that it does amount
to an injustice.
In its 37-page unanimous decision, the court
found no grounds for the stay, saying Crown prosecutor Shelley Hallet
had made an honest mistake when she failed to disclose the fact
former Cornwall police officer Perry Dunlop, a crusader in the fight to
uncover a purported pedophile ring in the area, had been in contact with
one of Leduc's alleged victims.
Leduc's defence team, led by prominent
criminal lawyer Marlys Edwardh, contends there are still questions about
the Crowns actions in the case.
Edwardh, who has successfully fought the
wrongful convictions of Donald Marshall, Guy Paul Morin and Steven
Truscott, called Thursdays judgment a welcome development in a
Its very rare but in this unusual case,
where what has gone on is the same as a court of appeal reversing an
acquittal, the rules of the Supreme Court require the court to give
an opportunity to make oral arguments in this very unique
circumstance, she said.
The hearing date has been set for January 12, 2004.