Nova Scotia

Halifax sex assault prosecution ends after complainant faced with more delays

The Crown is ending its attempt to prosecute Michael Raymond Kobylanski for serious sex offences in Halifax because the woman who accuses him no longer wants to proceed following multiple delays in the case.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of violence and sexual assault

Michael Kobylanski, who faced charges of sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon, is shown leaving court in Halifax on June 7, 2019. (CBC)

The Crown is ending its attempt to prosecute Michael Raymond Kobylanski for serious sex offences in Halifax because the woman who accuses him no longer wants to proceed following multiple delays in the case.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, went to police in June 2015 when she was 18 years old.

Kobylanski went on trial in 2017 on charges including sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. The court heard he assaulted the teen in a house he owned in north-end Halifax.

The jury in that original trial convicted Kobylanski of common assault but was deadlocked on the more serious charges, so a new trial was ordered. 

That trial was supposed to happen later in 2017, then in 2018, then 2020. During that time, Kobylanski went through four different lawyers, which prompted some of the delays.

One of the last confirmed dates was January of this year in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, but jury trials couldn't happen under pandemic restrictions.

In a letter to the court Monday explaining the decision, Crown prosecutor Alex Keaveny noted the complainant "has been waiting for the re-trial since March 2017, spending countless hours preparing and worrying only to be met with repeated defence adjournments, often on the eve of trial, and 2 COVID adjournments."

History of violence

Keaveny noted in his letter that trial dates were available in February, March and July of this year, but the trial has been set for April of next year, more than six years after the woman first complained about Kobylanski.

"The complainant has decided she cannot keep her life on hold any longer," the Crown wrote. 

This is not the first time Kobylanski has been accused of a violent sexual assault.

In 1995 in Ontario, he attacked a 14-year-old girl who'd rejected his sexual advances. According to parole documents, Kobylanski smashed the girl in the head with a large rock and then sexually assaulted her.

He had lured her away from her friends on the pretext of needing help finding his way home, as he was unfamiliar with the area.

She was found the next day, barely conscious and badly beaten, near some railroad tracks.

"Injuries to the victim were extremely serious and required surgery due to swelling of the brain," the National Parole Board noted in rejecting Kobylanski's bid for early release from prison. "It was feared during post-surgery that she would not survive."

The board noted she suffers life-long psychological and physical effects.

Previous acquittals

Kobylanski was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. The parole board repeatedly rejected his efforts to be released from prison early, saying he was a high risk to reoffend. Each time he was refused, Kobylanski appealed. Each of his three appeals was rejected.

Kobylanski has also faced additional sex-related charges in Halifax.

In December 2013, he was acquitted on charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. In March 2014, Kobylanski was acquitted on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference.

The charges in both cases covered a period from July 2010 to June 2011.

In notifying the court of his decision not to proceed, Keaveny suggested the court could schedule a hearing to formally withdraw the charges or could deal with it during a bail review hearing that has already been scheduled for later this month.

Kobylanski is not being held in custody and has been free on certain conditions.

now