A man accused of sexually assaulting and chaining up a 16-year-old boy in Nova Scotia will not ask for bail, according to his lawyer.
David James Leblanc made a brief appearance Wednesday in Bridgewater provincial court, where he wore blue hospital slippers and was wheeled into the room on an office chair.
Mike Taylor, his lawyer, said Leblanc recently had surgery on his feet — which were frostbitten before his arrest Sept. 30 in Ontario during a national manhunt — and had been using a wheelchair.
"He's having a difficult time, both physically and emotionally. But considering, he's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, I guess I can say that," Taylor told reporters outside the courtroom.
"We just agreed to remand from this point forward. That probably won't change. Just given the prior existing charges before these charges were laid and the test that would have to be applied at a bail hearing, I don't see that moving forward."
Co-accused found dead in Ontario
The hunt for Leblanc and co-accused Wayne Alan Cunningham began after a teenager, who was allegedly kept at a house in Upper Chelsea for eight days, 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.
Cunningham was found dead several days after Leblanc was arrested. Police do not suspect foul play in his death.
Leblanc was spotted barefoot on a logging road northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., by a passerby who was returning from a camping trip. Leblanc's face was scratched up and police said he appeared disoriented and wasn't dressed for the cold.
Leblanc, 47, faces seven charges, including:
- Forcible confinement.
- Sexual assault.
- Sexual assault causing bodily harm.
- Administering a noxious substance.
- Uttering a death threat.
- Breach of an undertaking.
His next court date is Dec. 19.
Taylor said his client understands the severity of the charges.
"He's had plenty of time to digest that. He's been through a lot in the last couple of months. He's talked to the police quite a bit as you can imagine, just being in custody," Taylor said.
"I had some initial disclosure and we've gone through some of it, but I just, at this stage, want to get a broad overview of what we're looking at and have some general discussions. We'll get into much more detail later on."
Arrest warrants for Leblanc and Cunningham read, "Over the course of several days, these two men forcibly confined and sexually assaulted [the teen]," and say the two "were talking about trying to sell him."