Crown withdraws sexual assault charge against British sailor Joshua Finbow

The Crown has withdrawn a sexual assault charge against a British sailor who was one of four British servicemen accused of assaulting a Halifax area woman in April 2015.

Justice rules military police violated Finbow's charter rights by making him wait to consult a lawyer

The British sailors were in Halifax to play in a hockey tournament against Canadian teams. (Facebook)

The Crown has withdrawn a sexual assault charge against a British sailor who was one of four British servicemen accused of assaulting a Halifax-area woman in April 2015.

The men were in Nova Scotia to play in a naval hockey tournament.

Today, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court released a decision in the case of Joshua Finbow. Justice Patrick Duncan ruled that military police violated Finbow's charter rights by making him wait an hour and 20 minutes after his arrest before he could consult a lawyer.

"I am not satisfied that the accused's right to counsel was implemented without delay," Duncan wrote.

"A 1 hour and 20 minute delay is not 'immediate.'"

Finbow was arrested on the morning of April 16, 2015, at the military barracks at CFB Shearwater in Eastern Passage, where he and his three teammates had been staying. He was taken across the harbour to military police offices in downtown Halifax, where he was made to wait.

The judge found that not only was the delay unreasonable, but the setting wasn't right either, because Finbow could hear what was being said in adjoining rooms and could reasonably assume that his conversations — including his private consultation with a lawyer — could be overheard as well.

This decision leaves only Darren Smalley and Simon Radford still facing the sexual assault charge.

The Crown withdrew charges against Craig Stoner in April of last year after concluding there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

Smalley, Radford and Finbow were allowed to leave Canada and return to Britain under strict conditions while they awaited their trial.

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety.