Nova Scotia

Fourth British sailor accused of sexual assault won't be going to trial

Nova Scotia prosecutors have decided not to proceed with a sexual assault trial against one of four British sailors accused of gang raping a Halifax woman in April 2015. The sailors were in town for a military hockey tournament when the alleged sexual assault took place.

Crown declined to revive charges against Simon Radford, but said there was no realistic prospect of conviction

The alleged assault happened at CFB Shearwater in Eastern Passage, N.S. (CBC)

Nova Scotia prosecutors have decided not to proceed with a sexual assault trial against one of four British sailors accused of gang raping a Halifax woman in April 2015.

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service said the decision was made because there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

The Crown had until Tuesday to revive charges against Simon Radford and opted not to do so.

Last September, Radford was in a British hospital recovering from complications from surgery. He was supposed to be standing trial alongside a fellow sailor, Darren Smalley, in a Halifax courtroom, facing charges of sexual assault and sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Smalley, Radford and two other sailors were part of a British navy hockey team that was in Nova Scotia in April 2015 playing in a military hockey tournament at 12 Wing Shearwater in Eastern Passage. A Halifax woman alleges she was gang raped by the sailors in barracks at the military base.

Simon Radford walks outside the courtroom in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (The Canadian Press)

With Radford unable to travel to attend his trial, the Crown stayed the charges against him and proceeded against Smalley alone. In a decision released in January of this year, Smalley was acquitted of all charges.

Prior to Smalley's trial, charges involving another sailor, Craig Stoner, were dropped due to lack of evidence. And charges were withdrawn against a fourth member of the team, Joshua Finbow, after a judge ruled military police had violated his charter rights in the hours immediately following his arrest. 

While the criminal trials are over, the complainant at the centre of the case is engaged in a civil lawsuit against the British government, arguing it should be held vicariously liable for the conduct of its four employees. That lawsuit is still in its early stages, but lawyers for the government have made it clear they plan a vigorous defence.

In their first response, they argued the government should not be held responsible for the sailors' activities after hours and only when they were representing the navy on ice. Following Smalley's acquittal, the British government amended its response, accusing the woman of trying to relitigate issues that had been decided against her in the criminal trial.

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