Nova Scotia

C.B. man guilty of decade-long sex crimes

A Cape Breton man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a girl over 10 years, starting when she was six years old.

A Cape Breton man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a girl over 10 years, starting when she was six years old.

Joseph Melvin MacNeil, 44, was also convicted Thursday of sexual interference, unlawful confinement, uttering threats and common assault.

The crimes took place in Dominion between 1989 and 1999.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Frank Edwards took about 30 minutes to summarize the trial and give his analysis of the evidence.

MacNeil yawned a couple of times as he sat in the front row of the courtroom in Sydney. When Edwards pronounced him guilty on all five counts, he stood up and nearly fell over the rail. He was helped back into his seat.

MacNeil raped, beat and threatened the girl from 1989 to 1999.

The woman is now 27. The defence tried to discredit her testimony with contradictory detailed evidence.

Edwards said the passage of time and the impressions of a child may have clouded the exact location of the crimes, but they still left their mark.

"What the judge made clear is that he clearly assessed her evidence as he was supposed to do as an adult testifying about events that occurred to them as a child," said prosecutor Diane McGrath.

Edwards dismissed the testimony from MacNeil's wife, Joanne. He said he had no doubt she was afraid of her husband and would say anything to protect him.

MacNeil will be sentenced on June 22. He remains behind bars at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in Sydney.

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