Nova Scotia

James Duncan Keats, former paramedic, guilty of 2 sexual assaults

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury has found former paramedic James Duncan Keats guilty of sexually assaulting two women while on the job in 2013.

Crown to says it wants Keats sentenced as a long-term offender

Paramedic James Duncan Keats was charged with sexual assault in May 2013. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury has found former paramedic James Duncan Keats guilty of sexually assaulting two women while on the job in 2013.

He was found not guilty of two other counts of sexual assault related to two other women. 

Keats, 50, showed no emotion when the verdict was read Thursday in a Halifax courtroom. The jury had deliberated for three days.

Three of the women said the assaults happened in an ambulance, while the fourth said it happened in the hospital. Keats's convictions were both for assaults in an ambulance. The identities of all four women are protected by a publication ban.

Keats to be assessed as long-term offender

Keats was fired as a paramedic shortly after the allegations came to light. 

"The jury was obviously very thorough," Crown prosecutor Sean McCarroll said outside court. "We're confident that they've reviewed all the evidence, they've done their job and so we're pleased with that aspect of it."

The Crown served notice it wants Keats sentenced as a long-term offender. That means he would be under close supervision for an extended period after his prison term.

Keats will be sent to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility for 60 days to be assessed on if he should be sentenced as a long-term offender.

After that, he'll be sent to the federal prison in Springhill to await his sentencing on April 25, 2016.

Long-term offenders are supervised for up to 10 years in the community following any prison sentence they are ordered to serve.

Guilty of raping 71-year-old at home

Keats was a paramedic for nearly 20 years before six women accused him of six separate incidents of sexual assault.

One case has already been dealt with by the courts. In June, Keats was found guilty of raping a 71-year-old Annapolis Valley woman in her home and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Keats plans on appealing both his sentence and conviction in the first sexual assault case.

A sixth case of sexual assault will go to court at a later date. That complaint was originally supposed to be part of the trial that wrapped up Thursday, but the defence succeeded in having her allegations tried separately.

At his first trial, Keats was charged with both sexual assault and breach of trust and was convicted of sexual assault.

"When this goes to sentencing, we'll certainly be arguing that there was a significant breach of trust here," McCarroll said.

"It's still a factor that's going to be at play at sentencing and it's going to be at the forefront of the Crown's sentencing position."

Keats has been in custody since he was sentenced in the first case in October.