Decision in Brent Hawkes sex assault trial put over til January
KENTVILLE, N.S. – Closing arguments were made today in the trial of a prominent Toronto pastor accused of performing sex acts on a teenage boy more than 40 years ago in Nova Scotia.
Brent Hawkes, a high-profile rights activist, has pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.
The charges stem from events in the mid-1970s, when he was a teacher in his mid-20s in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
The trial in Kentville, N.S., has heard emotional testimony from a middle-age man who said Hawkes led him down a hallway naked during a drunken get-together at his trailer and forced oral sex on him in a bedroom when he was about 16 years old.
But taking the stand in his own defence, Hawkes categorically denied the allegations.
He told the court last Thursday: “It’s not true. It did not happen.”
Hawkes was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2007 and officiated the funeral of former NDP leader Jack Layton in 2014.
In closing arguments, defence lawyer Clayton Ruby questioned the reliability of the memory of witnesses after four decades and called the case ‘weird’. Ruby declined to comment on the case following proceedings.
“Just because it’s weird doesn’t make it less plausible that it happened, because a lot of weird things happen,” said Robert Morrison, crown attorney.
Morrison admits some of the testimony from crown witnesses in the case is inconsistent.
“Certainly when you have three or four different people describing the same event, they are going to give different accounts based on their vantage points, whether they were paying attention at the time and that sort of thing,” said Morrison.
“Rather than look at it piecemeal and go through the list of contradictions, you have to look not only at the contradictions but the parts where they coincide.”
Judge Alan Tufts, who is presiding over the case, has reserved his decision until January 18.
— With files from Natasha Pace, Global News.
© 2016 The Canadian Press