Halifax lawyer Lyle Howe pleads not guilty to sexual assault
Jury chosen for Howe, accused of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance
The jury has been selected in the case of a Halifax lawyer accused of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance.
Lyle Howe pleaded not guilty as jury selection got underway Monday in a Nova Scotia courtroom. He was charged after an alleged incident on March 21, 2011, involving a 20-year-old woman.
On Monday, Crown and defence attorneys chose 14 jury members, 12 of whom will decide Howe's fate. Two alternates will hear the evidence but not join the deliberations.
Each prospective juror faced questions about what they knew about this case and whether they harboured any racial bias. The complainant in Howe's case is a Caucasian woman.
Approximately 250 people were called for jury duty and about 150 people showed up. The group was overwhelmingly Caucasian.
"It is what it is," said Mike Taylor, Howe's lawyer.
"I would have liked to have seen a little more diversity but people are chosen at random so there's no control over that."
Taylor said he and Howe were satisfied with the jury that was chosen.
It took almost the entire day to pick the jury, with several people admitting on the stand they could not get past their own prejudices.
"Our goal in this whole process is to see that a just trial is delivered and that was what we had in mind all the time we were selecting jurors," said Darcy MacPherson, the Crown prosecutor.
On Tuesday, Justice Joseph Kennedy will give his first instructions and the Crown will give their opening statements.
The woman who alleges Howe sexually assaulted her in March 2011 is expected to testify.
The eight men and six women who were picked to be members of the jury will be back Tuesday morning.