Ex-First Nation chief Wilbur Dedam elects jury on sex charges
Former leader is charged with 6 sex offences dating back to the 1970s
Wilbur Dedam, the former chief of Esgenoôpetit First Nation, has elected to be tried by judge and jury on sex-related charges dating back to the 1970s.
A preliminary inquiry will be held on Oct. 8 to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. It is scheduled to take one day.
Dedam, 56, is facing six charges in relation to alleged sex offences against three women between 1977 and 1985, including sexual assault and having sex with a female under the age of 14.
A publication ban prevents reporting any information that could identify the alleged victims.
Dedam made a brief appearance in Miramichi provincial court on Monday morning.
"The election to judge and jury automatically means a plea of not guilty," his lawyer, GillesLemieux, told reporters outside the courthouse.
"So rather than re-read the question a second time, which is often done most of the time, in this particular case when you elect judge and jury, the election presupposes that it's 'not guilty' and that's what it is."
Dedam declined to comment.
Lemieux says it's been difficult for his client since his arrest in May.
"Very stressful, very stressful. He's under a lot of constraints — there's a lot of things he can't do, so it's very stressful," he said.
He is free on bail after being released in May on a $10,000 surety and under several conditions.
Dedam must not have any contact with the alleged victims or their families or with any females under the age of 18, except immediate family members.
He must also maintain his residence, abide by a curfew of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., report twice a week to the Neguac RCMP, and abstain from the consumption or possession of alcohol and non-prescribed drugs.