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Crown Hasn't Proven Hawkes' Guilt, Toronto Lawyer Tells Nova Scotia Indecency Trial

The Canadian Press, 23 Nov, 2016 10:41 AM
    KENTVILLE, N.S. — Brent Hawkes' lawyer told his gross indecency trial in Kentville, N.S., Wednesday the evidence against the Toronto pastor is "weird."
     
    Clayton Ruby said in his closing argument to the judge that the entire case will be remembered as weird, amid "an abundance of evidence" that the testimony of witnesses is unreliable.
     
    He said the Crown has "many problems" meeting the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 
     
    "I do not have the evidence to prove the witnesses are lying, but we do have evidence their testimony is unreliable," Ruby said. 
     
    "There is a lot of contradiction and unreliability between the Crown witnesses."
     
    A middle-age man testified Hawkes led him down a hallway naked during a drunken get-together at his trailer in the mid-1970s, and forced oral sex on him in a bedroom when he was about 16 years old.
     
    Ruby said two of the witnesses who testified about the party said they were very drunk, including the complainant, and that alcohol impairs memory and can lead to "imagination inflation."
     
    "What the alcohol does... is it produced contradictory and unreliable accounts of events," Ruby said. 
     
    Hawkes, a high-profile rights activist who was then a teacher in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, has categorically denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.

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