A Canadian man who was kidnapped in and held hostage for five years with his wife and children has gone on trial for 19 offences including sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering death threats.He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Joshua Boyle, 35, entered an Ottawa courtroom dressed in a dark blue jacket, a pink shirt and black pants. He was accompanied by his father.
A court-ordered publication ban initially prevented media from identifying Boyle’s alleged victims, but was partially lifted on Monday to reveal that all but one of the 19 charges relate to his American wife, Caitlan Coleman
Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped in October 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan. At the time, Coleman was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Canadian American family rescued after five years as captives in Afghanistan
After an American rescue mission was deemed too risky, the family in October 2017. Their story captivated the country and the couple met the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in his office on Parliament Hill.
But less than three months after their rescue, Boyle was arrested on more than a dozen charges including sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering a death threat. According to the police, the offences occurred between 14 October – the day Boyle and his family returned to – and 30 December 2017.
Coleman was not in court but is expected to testify on Wednesday, when crown lawyers believe her credibility will be “vigorously challenged” by Boyle’s legal team, the .
In the coming days, the court is expected to hear the recording of an early morning emergency phone call, placed on 30 December 2017 – days before Boyle was arrested.
A forensic identification officer, who searched the couple’s house, as well as neighbours and Coleman’s family, are also expected to testify as witnesses.
Boyle has remained under house arrest since June 2018 and is required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Boyle’s trial is expected to last eight weeks and will be overseen by judge alone.