Sex charges withdrawn against former N.S. teacher
A former Nova Scotia high school teacher has had sex charges against him withdrawn because the woman who filed the complaint four years ago is no longer interested in proceeding.
Antoine Dominique Fraser, of Cole Harbour, was accused of having a sexual relationship with a female student during the time he was a teacher at Cole Harbour District High School in Dartmouth.
The complainant was 16 years old at the time.
Fraser, 38, was fired from the Halifax Regional School Board shortly after the complainant came forward.
He was convicted of sexual interference following a jury trial in December 2009 and sentenced to nine months in jail. But the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal quashed that conviction last year and offered a scathing assessment of Fraser's first defence lawyer, Lance Scaravelli.
In its decision, the appeal court noted, "Mr. Fraser did not receive a fair trial. The legal representation he obtained fell far short of the mark reasonably expected of any defence counsel."
"His constitutional right to make full answer and defence was compromised."
The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal then ordered a new trial and Fraser was scheduled to have his case heard before another jury next month.
'We are just so grateful,' says Fraser's mother
But on Monday, Crown prosecutor Alonzo Wright withdrew the charges against the former teacher.
"The matter was withdrawn because the complainant in this matter is not interested in proceeding at this time," Wright told reporters.
"The Crown is not in the business of forcing people to come to court and testify and revictimizing the victim again."
Fraser told reporters outside the courtroom that he was thankful the "nightmare" had come to an end.
"It's sad that it actually took so long," he said.
"But I'm happy that the charges were properly withdrawn, as they should have been."
Fraser's family, who had supported him throughout the case, told reporters they had gone through a "horrendous ordeal."
"We are just so grateful that this is finally all through. It's a travesty that it didn't happen initially, that the charges weren't withdrawn initially when this all came to being. But we're happy," said Rose Fraser, Antoine Dominique Fraser's mother.
"When somebody's not guilty, it's horrible to have to go through a process like this."
Fraser, who lost his teaching licence after his conviction, has been working as an independent consultant and said it has been a struggle. He said he had not yet decided whether he will try to get his teaching job back.