Joshua Boyle, facing 15 criminal charges, makes brief court appearance

Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who was held captive in Afghanistan for five years with his wife and now faces more than a dozen criminal charges, made a brief court appearance via video link Monday morning in Ottawa.

Accused's next court appearance set for Jan. 15

Joshua Boyle, who faces 19 criminal charges, is attending a bail hearing Monday. He is seen in this court sketch from a previous court appearance by video. (Lauren Foster-MacLeod)

Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who was held captive in Afghanistan for five years with his wife and now faces more than a dozen criminal charges, made a brief court appearance via video link Monday morning in Ottawa.

The 34-year-old was seen in court via a video link from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, wearing a chinstrap beard and an orange jumpsuit with papers in the breast pocket. He has been held at the jail since he was arrested in Ottawa on New Year's Day.

He is being represented by lawyers Lawrence Greenspon and Eric Granger.

Boyle's next court appearance was scheduled for Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. via video link again. The one-week adjournment will allow his lawyers to continue working on a bail plan.

The Crown took no issue with the defence team's request, but asked that judicial pre-trial procedures begin soon, since disclosure was provided from the Crown to the defence Jan. 3.

Boyle is charged with: 

  • Eight counts of assault.
  • Two counts of sexual assault.
  • Two counts of unlawful confinement.
  • One count of uttering threats.
  • One count of public mischief (misleading a police officer into believing that someone was suicidal and missing, causing the officer to start an investigation, and thereby diverting suspicion away from Boyle).
  • One count of administering a noxious substance (the antidepressant Trazodone).

Police allege the offences happened in Ottawa between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30. None of the charges has been proven in court.

Court records show there are two alleged victims, but their identities are protected by a publication ban.

'The kids and I are doing OK'

Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children were freed in October, five years after the couple was abducted while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. The children were born in captivity.

In an interview Wednesday with The Fifth Estate's Habiba Nosheen, Coleman said she hopes Boyle gets the help he needs, and that she and her children are doing all right.

"The kids and I are doing OK given the circumstances," Coleman said.

Boyle and his family met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Dec. 19. Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police on New Year's Day. (@boylesvsworld/Twitter)

Upon Boyle's return to Canada, he told CBC News that members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network killed their infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held captive. 

Over their five years in captivity, the family was moved between 23 different locations within 50 kilometres of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and spent time in both countries. 

During that time, Boyle said his family was shuffled among at least three prisons. One was remarkably barbaric, he said, while another one was particularly violent. He and his wife were frequently separated and beaten. 

Boyle settled into his parents' home in Smiths Falls when he returned to Canada in October, but court records show his most recent address was in Ottawa. 

'Never been in trouble'

Granger and Greenspon wrote in an emailed statement to CBC News last week that Boyle is presumed innocent and has no criminal history.

"He has no criminal record and has never been in trouble with the police. As Mr. Boyle has only just been charged, we are waiting to receive more information (disclosure) about these allegations so that we can respond to them appropriately in court," the statement reads.

"As the matter is currently before the courts, we have no further comments at this time, and Mr. Boyle will not be making any statements."

A handwritten note posted outside Boyle's Ottawa home shortly after his arrest asked for privacy. (CBC News)

Ottawa police declined to comment on the case when contacted by CBC News. 

A man who answered the phone last Tuesday at Boyle's parents' home in Smiths Falls, Ont., said, "We don't have any comment," before hanging up.