A Nova Scotia provincial court judge has acquitted a Kings County man of criminal negligence causing death and trafficking in a controlled substance in the drug overdose death of another young man two years ago.
Kyle David Fredericks, of Kentville, had been accused of giving Joshua Graves the Dilaudid that — combined with alcohol — led to the 21-year-old's death.
Graves died on March 19, 2011 after taking a lethal mix of alcohol and Dilaudid at a house party in the Annapolis Valley the night before.
Family and friends of Fredericks smiled and wiped their eyes as Judge Allan Tufts acquitted Fredericks on Thursday in Kentville provincial court.
Tufts called Graves' death a "sad and senseless tragedy" but said there was not enough evidence to warrant a criminal conviction.
He said he believes Fredericks gave Graves a pill, but the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was that particular pill that had contributed to Graves' death.
The judge also said there was no evidence Graves did or didn't take Dilaudid from any other sources before or after that time.
Mike Graves, Joshua Graves' father, sat quietly in court as the verdict was read. He later told CBC News he was disappointed in the outcome, but commended the court and the RCMP for pursuing his son's case.
"It's disappointing but it's not all for not. It's raised the awareness, our community has a higher awareness of the problem we have. So we just need our officials and out legal system to step up to the plate and try to better the situation," said Graves.
"Hopefully this opens a lot of people's eyes and opens the doors for our government to find the courage to improve our drug monitoring program, to counsel our doctors on prescribing this type of drug."
Dave Fredericks, Kyle Frederick's father, said he's pleased by the verdict and said he never felt there was enough evidence to charge his son.
"I just don't feel that the charges were warranted. I don't think they were there, there was just no proof of it," he said.
When asked whether there was anything he wanted to say about the acquittal, Kyle Fredericks responded, "No, I'm good."
In July, Fredericks escaped custody just minutes after being arrested for breaching his bail conditions. He was found nearly a week later in a Berwick apartment. Fredericks was later released from custody under conditions.
In September, he escaped custody a second time but was caught a short time later.
Fredericks entered a guilty plea to the charge of escaping lawful custody. He was sentenced to time served and the court withdrew the breach of conditions charge.