Sex abuse trial of former Halifax teacher delayed because he broke his arm
Witnesses accusing Jaddus Joseph Poirier are 'very distressed and distraught' lawyer says
The sex assault trial of former Halifax teacher and hockey coach Jaddus Joseph Poirier has been delayed yet again, this time because of a sick lawyer and pain from a broken arm.
Poirier faces two charges of sexual assault and two of gross indecency stemming from a 2019 Halifax police investigation into historic sexual abuse by teachers and others who worked with youth.
In 2019 he was charged with abusing three young men, but charges involving one victim were later withdrawn.
The remaining alleged offences date from Aug. 31, 1985 to July 1, 1987.
In April 2021, Poirier successfully applied to postpone his original trial because he was scared of dying from COVID-19 due to frail health. A four-day trial was re-scheduled for this week in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
But on Monday, Poirier's lawyer Ian Hutchison applied for another adjournment.
Hutchison produced an affidavit from an attending physician at Halifax's Veterans Memorial hospital, where his client was admitted for a broken left arm.
Dr. Barbara Blaszkow-Poranek reported that Poirier was sent home Sept. 29 and was using 12 mg daily of the opioid Dilaudid to control his pain.
She said he'll need two to three weeks to be strong enough to face full days in court.
Blaszkow-Poranek says Poirier needs help dressing, bathing and cooking meals, and has limited mobility.
Alonzo Wright of the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service expressed his dismay at the delay.
"The Crown is very disappointed we are not proceeding today, given the number of adjournments we have already encountered with this file," Wright told Judge Richard J. Coughlan.
"We have spoken to our witnesses, and again they are very distressed and distraught."
But Wright said an adjournment makes legal sense because if Poirier was unable to attend his full trial, it could impact a possible appeal.
Poirier was not present at the adjournment hearing Monday.
Poirier's defence lawyer Ian Hutchison appeared remotely, because he was ill, which was another factor Wright cited in the postponement.
No excessive delay
The trial will now be held on Feb. 21 and 22, 2023, and continue for up to four additional days from May 30.
Hutchison does not believe this new adjournment will give Poirier grounds to have his charges thrown out due excessive legal delay.
"This is clearly shouldered by the defence," he said.
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