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Retrial begins for former Kingston teacher and OHL billet accused of sex crimes against minors

Neil Joynt walks into Napanee's Superior Court for his retrial on Monday. Joynt was originally convicted for historic sexual assaults of two boys in 2016. Global Kingston

Warning: This story contains explicit details some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised. 

The retrial for Neil Joynt, the 78-year-old former teacher and long-time hockey billet, accused of sexual assaulting two boys in the 1960s and ’70s, began Monday in Napanee superior court.

In October 2016, Joynt was convicted of two counts of indecent assault against two boys that he taught, and was sentenced to eight months in jail. He was found not guilty of assaulting a third boy.

READ MORE: Kingston-based military member facing sexual assault charges

Joynt never served jail time, since he appealed his conviction the day of sentencing.

According to Crown counsel Roberto Corbella, the retrial was granted because the judge failed to deliver two pieces of information to the jury — a summary of the evidence and failing to provide the jury with prior consistent statements of a witness.

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When asked if granting a retrial on such elements are common, Corbella said he’s never experienced a retrial in his over 20 years of working in the job.

On Monday, only one of the two complainants were able to testify. Monday’s complainant, whom Joynt was convicted of sexually assaulting in 2016 and who cannot be named due to a publication ban, told the story of how his physical education teacher, Joynt, befriended him while he was 13 years old, then sexually assaulted him.

The complainant, now an adult man, said his memory was sparse when it came to events after the alleged assault, but he said he remembered the incident itself vividly.

He told the court that Joynt took an interest in him, and took him out on several outings on the weekends that did not have to do with the school.

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The complainant noted that he saw Joynt as a close friend and “all in all, an excellent teacher.”

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After months of friendship, the complainant said Joynt took him to his parent’s home, where it was decided the two would spend the night in the same bed.

Within minutes of going to sleep, the complainant said Joynt began sexually touching him, which the complainant said he consented to for a short time, until he became “disgusted” and ran out the home.

The complainant said he tried to take refuge in the back seat of Joynt’s vehicle, then said Joynt came out to see him, with an expression of “fear and remorse,” begging the then-child to come back inside.

The complainant says he made Joynt promise he would not touch him again, to which Joynt agreed, he said. The complainant told the court he remembers nothing afterwards, except that he was certain Joynt did not assault him again.

READ MORE: Teen ‘sexual cult’ in Ontario foster home known to Children’s Aid Society, victim says

After the alleged assault, the complainant says he told no one. It wasn’t until years later that the complainant claims he confided in his mother. He also said he mentioned the assault to his brother in passing.

He said he came forward in 2015 when he heard a publication ban had been lifted on Joynt’s original sexual assault case. He told the court that after his brother sent him a Whig Standard article detailing Joynt’s alleged offence, he felt it was his “civic duty” to contact OPP and tell him about his experience.

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On Monday, Joynt’s Ottawa-based defence counsel, Oliver Abergel, began to cross-examine the first witness, calling into question his memory, and more specifically details he gave during the first trial that differed from his testimony on Monday. Due to delays in the beginning of Monday’s retrial, however, Abergel’s time was cut short.

The retrial will continue in Napanee on Tuesday, where the first complainant will be cross-examined, and the second complainant is expected to testify.