Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not saying whether he regrets a meeting held last month with former hostage Joshua Boyle, who is now facing 15 criminal charges dating back over the course of the two months following his return from captivity in Pakistan.
In an interview with Halifax radio station 95.7 FM on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked whether he had any second thoughts about meeting with a man now facing a serious list of charges ranging from assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering death threats to misleading a peace officer and forcing someone to ingest a noxious substance – in this case, the sleep-inducing antidepressant trazodone.
There is a publication ban on the case that prevents the naming of the alleged victim or victims.
“We’ve been very, very active on consular cases. We’ve had a number of successes in bringing people who were stuck in difficult situations overseas home, bringing them to safety, and the engagement which my office has directly with those cases has led me to meet with a number of people who have been released,” Trudeau told radio host Sheldon Macleod while in Nova Scotia for the first day of his six-city town hall tour.
“So these kinds of things are something that I do. I always try to defer to meeting with more people rather than fewer people, and particularly people for whom we’ve been working hard over the past years. I think that’s something that’s important to do.”
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The charges against Boyle – who was rescued last fall along with his wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children from where the family was being held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network in Pakistan – have raised questions about whether Boyle was under active police investigation when he met with Trudeau in his office on Parliament Hill on Dec. 18, 2017.
The Prime Minister’s Office has not said whether they were aware of an investigation into Boyle.
It remains unclear whether the charges stemmed from a prolonged police investigation or whether they were the result of an unknown individual or individuals filing a complaint with police in the days leading up to the laying of charges against Boyle on New Year’s Day.
When asked if the meeting with Boyle showed a lack of judgement or bad advice received from staff, Trudeau said he had followed all applicable advice.
“We make sure we follow all the advice that our security professionals and intelligence agencies give us and that’s exactly what we did in this case,” he said.
An Ottawa judge has adjourned the Boyle case several times so far and a date for a bail hearing has not yet been set.
Boyle is scheduled to appear for a fourth time via videoconference in the Ottawa courthouse on Jan. 15.