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Sexual assault trial of Canada's former national women's gymnastics coach delayed

A high-profile sexual assault trial involving Canada’s former women’s national gymnastics team coach Dave Brubaker has been delayed until Tuesday after new information surfaced.

Defence lawyer says new information 'dramatic enough' to change evidence in case

Dave Brubaker, the former women's national coach of Gymnastics Canada, pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching on Tuesday. (YouTube/Gymnastics Canada)

SARNIA, Ont. — A high-profile sexual assault trial involving Canada's former women's national gymnastics team coach Dave Brubaker has been delayed until Tuesday.

The start of the trial was pushed back after new information surfaced that defence lawyer Patrick Ducharme described as "dramatic enough" to change every aspect of the evidence in the trial.

Brubaker, 55, is facing multiple sex-related charges from a period spanning eight years, from 2000 to 2007. The allegations stem from a series of incidents involving Brubaker and a female who he was coaching and was under the age of 16 during at least some of the alleged offences.

CBC Sports' Devin Heroux reports from Sarnia:

CBC's Devin Heroux discusses the delays in the Canadian gymnastics coach's sexual assault trial. 1:34

The charges include sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

The trial was set to start Monday at 10 a.m. ET in a Sarnia courthouse. But, just as proceedings got underway, Crown prosecutor David Rows asked Judge Deborah Austin if counsel could meet in chambers to discuss "scheduling issues." 

After about 30 minutes behind closed doors, all parties arrived back in the courtroom to announce what had been agreed upon. 

Follow Devin Heroux's live updates from the trial:

Rows said new information came to light on Friday and Saturday that was shared with Ducharme, who then told the court that, despite his team's best efforts to assess the information, more time was needed.

The trial will now begin Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. It was originally scheduled for three days but, during the proceedings Monday morning, Ducharme also indicated he would be asking for two more days, which he hoped could be fit in before the end of the year. 

Brubaker well-known in gymnastics world

Brubaker is a well-known figure in the Canadian and international gymnastics communities, serving as coach for Canada's national women's gymnastics teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He's been the director of the Bluewater Gymnastics Club in Sarnia since 1985.

Brubaker's arrest last December sent shock waves through the Canadian gymnastics community. Gymnastics Canada, in a statement issued at the time, said it was "shocked and deeply troubled by the news."

"Our first priority within Gymnastics Canada is always the safety of our athletes," said Richard Crépin, the former chair of the board of directors. "Sport should be a safe place for everyone, and we're working hard to ensure that we have the policies and procedures, as well as the education and resources, in place to ensure the safety of all of our participants."

After police laid charges, Brubaker was immediately placed on administrative leave from Gymnastics Canada. The Bluewater Gymnastics board also placed him on indefinite unpaid leave and said he would no longer be allowed on the property.

Brubaker is currently out on bail and restricted from associating with the complainant, as well as working or volunteering with anyone under the age of 16. 

About the Author

Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

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