Crown drops assault charges against Little

An assault charges against a Fredericton-area man was dropped Friday.
David Little agreed to stay away from his estranged wife.

An assault charge was dropped against a Fredericton-area man Friday.

Crown prosecutor Paul Hawkins withdrew the count against David Tyng Little during an appearance before Judge Steven Hutchinson at Burton Provincial Court in New Brunswick.

Little, 66, had been charged with a Dec. 13 summary assault on his estranged wife. He pleaded not guilty to the offence during an earlier appearance and was scheduled to go to trial Friday.

But after a series of morning meetings, court was eventually called to order and the change of direction announced. No reason was given.

As an alternative to the assault charge, the court placed Little on a 12-month peace bond under a $1,000 surety and ordered him to have no contact with the complainant.

Little admits allegations

Hawkins told the court that the complainant had reason to fear for her safety. Little admitted to the allegations made in the peace bond and agreed to the order.

The couple is no longer living together. Conditions of the order signed by Little include keeping the peace and being of good behaviour, especially toward his estranged wife.

It also prohibits Little from making direct contact with her, except through a third party. Nothing prohibits the complainant from initiating contact with Little, the court was told.

While signing a peace bond or recognizance doesn't lead to a criminal record, it is an offence to violate one.

"These are not just words on paper but words you must abide by," Hutchinson said.

Little was found guilty in January of violating a police undertaking in which he'd agreed to have no contact with his estranged wife.

He was spared a criminal record when a judge last month granted him a conditional discharge.

Abortion protester

Little came into the public eye a few years ago after he made headlines for refusing to file federal income-tax returns.

A devout Roman Catholic, he argued that participating in the federal income-tax structure violated his right to religious freedom under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

His legal challenge failed, as did his appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada later declined to hear his case.