Nova Scotia

Former Bridgewater police chief convicted of sexual exploitation involving teen

A judge in Bridgewater, N.S., delivered the decision today in the case of former police chief John Collyer, who was found guilty of sexual exploitation involving a 17-year-old girl.

John Collyer was found guilty in case involving 17-year-old girl

Former Bridgewater police chief John Collyer is on trial for sexual assault and sexual exploitation. (CBC)

A judge in Bridgewater, N.S., has found the town's former police chief guilty of sexual exploitation involving a 17-year-old girl.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Mona Lynch issued her decision on Thursday involving John Collyer.

Collyer was placed on administrative leave from the Bridgewater Police Service in August 2016 after the province's Serious Incident Response Team confirmed it was investigating the assault.

The 26-year veteran of the force was suspended in May 2017 after the independent police watchdog charged him with one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation.

On Thursday, Lynch also convicted Collyer of sexual assault, but issued a "conditional stay" on the charge due to the rule against multiple convictions for a single criminal act.

The complainant testified at trial that Collyer asked her an inappropriate question while the two were driving in May 2016 before putting his hand between her legs and assaulting her.

Collyer denied the accusations and pleaded not guilty.

Crown attorney Roland Levesque told reporters Thursday the judge's decision was a "very thoughtful" and "very thorough" review of the evidence presented.

He said the complainant, her mother and her entire family are all "very, very emotional right now."

"I think it shows the courage and the bravery that the complainant and her family had to actually come forward and see this through," Levesque said.

"They're in a very small community where they're confronting one of the persons in that community who has a very high office and has a great, great deal of power."

Levesque said he doesn't know yet what sentence length the Crown will seek.

Collyer's sentencing is set for March 4, 2020. He remains free on conditions until then.

CBC reporter Blair Rhodes is live blogging from court.


With files from The Canadian Press, Blair Rhodes