The case against a former Halifax teacher and coach faced with historical sex-offence charges is set to move forward after it appeared before Dartmouth Provincial Court on Tuesday.
Michael Patrick McNutt, 66, is facing 91 historical sex-related offences which date back to the early 1970s and late 1980s.
McNutt was a volunteer coach in the 1980s and was employed as a teacher with the former Halifax Regional School Board until the mid-1990s.
On Tuesday, lawyers set dates for preliminary inquiries in two of the 91 sex charges against McNutt. The preliminary inquiries will be held in April.
A preliminary inquiry is a hearing where the court decides if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
The 66-year-old remains free on conditions and did not appear in court on Tuesday.
The case has been delayed as the Crown and defence await a decision from the Ontario Court of Appeals on Bill C-75.
Bill C-75 was originally introduced by former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould and includes several amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, including measures that will strengthen the criminal law’s response to intimate partner violence and improve jury selection to increase impartiality and fairness.
The bill also aims to improve the efficiency of criminal cases moving to trial, restricting the availability of preliminary inquiries only for offences carrying the most serious of penalties — those with a potential of 14 years or more.
That’s where McNutt’s offences may come into play as his legal team waits to find out whether he’s entitled to preliminary inquiries on further charges.
McNutt’s lawyers told the court on Tuesday that their client wants any charges against him to be tried in Nova Scotia Supreme Court by judge alone.
The case is scheduled appear in Dartmouth Provincial Court on Dec. 3, where McNutt is scheduled to enter a plea on some of the charges he faces.
McNutt also has several civil lawsuits filed against him through Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court that were launched by individual plaintiffs, who claim that McNutt sexually assaulted them while they were under his care, either as students or athletes on teams that he coached.
With files from Alexa MacLean and Graeme Benjamin