Accused in chained teen case chooses jury trial
David James Leblanc accused of forcible confinement, sexual assault
A man accused of sexually assaulting and chaining up a teenaged boy in a home on Nova Scotia's South Shore has chosen to have his case heard by judge and jury in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
David James Leblanc, 47, was wheeled into Bridgewater provincial court for a five-minute appearance on Wednesday.
He faces seven charges, including forcible confinement, sexual assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, kidnapping, administering a noxious substance, uttering a death threat and breach of an undertaking.
The charges relate to a case that unfolded in September, when a 16-year-old boy claimed he'd been held against his will at a cabin in Upper Chelsea.
The teen said he'd escaped and walked more than one kilometre to a home seeking help. He had chains wrapped around his wrists and ankles and was wearing only a hooded sweatshirt and a hat when he was found.
A preliminary hearing was set for April 29 to determine if there is enough evidence for Leblanc to go to trial.
Mike Taylor, Leblanc's lawyer, said he believes one day is long enough to complete the hearing.
"It's a complicated case," Taylor told reporters outside the courtroom.
"I'm essentially interested in evidence that we can get through in one day."
Although the court had been looking at holding a preliminary hearing in June, Judge Gregory Lenehan objected because Leblanc is in custody.
"It's a long time for him not to have things forward, no question about that," Taylor said.
"It does happen sometimes. It's unfortunate but it's part of the system."
After the teenager told his story to police, a Canada-wide warrant was issued for Leblanc and a co-accused, Wayne Alan Cunningham.
Leblanc was found a few days later, wandering along the side of a road in northern Ontario, barefoot and suffering from frostbite. Cunningham's body was found several days after that, a short distance away. Police ruled out foul play in his death.
Leblanc has been in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth since police flew him back from northern Ontario. He's been in a wheelchair because of the injuries to his feet.
A third man was also charged in connection with this case. John Leonard MacKean, 63, of Halifax, is charged with sexual assault and communicating for the purposes of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18.
Taylor is also representing MacKean in his court case.
"It doesn't pose any difficulty at all," he said.
"There are some similar elements, but they're not mixed in terms of evidence."
Leblanc is also facing pornography charges from Dartmouth that date back to 2010.