Nova Scotia

N.S. pedophile acquitted of sexually assaulting 3-year-old girl

A man who has previously been convicted for sexually assaulting a child has been acquitted on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference against a three-year-old girl.

Provincial court judge says there were inconsistencies in girl's testimony

Alexander William Hart is pictured in 2018. (Robert Short/CBC)

A man who has previously been convicted for sexually assaulting a child has been acquitted on charges of sexual assault and sexual interference against a three-year-old girl.

The girl, who is now nine, testified against Alexander William Hart at his trial in July. She said Hart crept into her bedroom one night in October 2013 and touched her vagina.

But in an oral decision delivered Wednesday, Nova Scotia provincial court Judge Gregory Lenehan said there were serious inconsistencies in the girl's testimony, causing him to doubt her allegations.

The judge said the girl provided truthful but unreliable testimony.

In one version of her testimony, the girl said when Hart touched her, she cried out and her mother — who was dating Hart at the time — came into the room and jumped on him. The mother herself testified that never happened.

In another statement, the girl said when she cried out, several people came into the room to restrain Hart. Again, the judge found that never happened.

The girl also alleged Hart abused her on other occasions, including when he drove her to daycare, but Lenehan pointed out that the girl rode in a child car seat in the back seat of Hart's vehicle and the abuse she described could not have happened while he was driving.

Previous conviction

This is the second time Hart has faced these charges. He was convicted in April 2017 following another trial.

The Crown started the process to try to have him declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned that conviction and ordered this new trial.

With no conviction, the dangerous offender process cannot proceed.

Originally from Pictou County, Hart was a truck driver in the mid-1990s when he was charged and convicted with sexually assaulting boys under the age of 14. Police said he'd lure them into the cab of his truck and trade money for sex.   

Hart was declared a long-term offender in 2001 and sentenced to three years in prison. He was released in 2004 under a long-term supervision order, but was sent back to prison for 18 months in 2007 for breaching conditions.   

He was arrested again in 2015 after he began the relationship with the girl's mother. One of the conditions of his long-term supervision was that he stay away from children under the age of 16.

Hart testified in this trial that he told the woman about his criminal history. But Lenehan said he did not find that claim credible because he did not believe the woman would let the girl and her two siblings be around Hart if she knew his history as a pedophile.   

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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. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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