File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Joshua Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario court to offences against estranged spouse Caitlan Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

Crown touts testimony depicting Joshua Boyle’s ‘pattern of behaviour’

OTTAWA — A Crown prosecutor says testimony about former hostage Joshua Boyle’s controlling, abusive nature should be admitted into evidence at his assault trial because it depicts a relevant pattern of behaviour.

Boyle, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario court to offences against estranged spouse Caitlan Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in Ottawa in late 2017 after the couple returned to Canada following five years as captives of extremists who seized them in Afghanistan during an ill-fated backpacking trip.

However, Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham told Judge Peter Doody, who is hearing the case without a jury, that the criminal proceedings must take into account the complete context of the couple’s relationship.

“The point of this evidence is it shows a pattern of behaviour,” Cunningham said Monday.

Boyle’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, argued such evidence should not be allowed, saying it was insufficient to contend his client was generally inclined to act abusively toward Coleman.

Coleman has testified that her husband regularly punished her with spankings for arguing with him or disobeying his wishes.

She recounted how the two met online when she was 16 and began an on-and-off relationship before marrying in 2011 in Costa Rica and travelling the following year to central Asia.

She said that in the early days of their tumultuous courtship, her future spouse would often belittle her. Over time, he told her how to behave and what to wear. Emotional and verbal abuse later became punches and slaps to the face, Coleman said.

Witnesses at the trial have described Boyle as angry and domineering in the days following his release from captivity.

Janice Unger, a Global Affairs Canada official who accompanied them on the plane back to Canada, told the court that at one point during the flight Boyle abruptly demanded that she and a colleague return to their seats.

Coleman’s sister, JoAnn Rotenberry, visited the couple shortly after their return and recalled that Boyle always seemed upset and frustrated, and would speak to Caitlan in a demeaning way.

Coleman’s mother Lynda testified she felt her daughter was afraid of upsetting Boyle and catered to him and the children while he did nothing to help.

Greenspon suggested the Crown would need to do more than demonstrate Boyle had a “bad attitude” in Ottawa for the testimony to become part of the evidentiary record.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic puts Canadian Finals Rodeo in doubt

When Jeff Robson thinks about the 47th edition of the Canadian Finals… Continue reading

Alberta confirms 29 new COVID-19 cases

Of the total 6,955 confirmed cases, 652 are active

Alberta house prices poised to plummet, says federal agency

Worst-case scenario could see house prices drop 20 per cent

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame awaits $300,000 in provincial funding

Tracey Kinsella has been on the job for less than a year,… Continue reading

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

When could a COVID-19 vaccine be ready?

When could a COVID-19 vaccine be ready?

Cancer, coronavirus are a dangerous mix, new studies find

Cancer, coronavirus are a dangerous mix, new studies find

CFL commissioner Ambrosie asks The Spring League CEO for partnership proposal

CFL commissioner Ambrosie asks The Spring League CEO for partnership proposal

Hockey Canada cancels summer camps, going virtual with training camps

Hockey Canada cancels summer camps, going virtual with training camps

NHL awards regular-season trophies for season cut short

NHL awards regular-season trophies for season cut short

Tam: NHL proposal being ‘reviewed,’ mandatory quarantine remains in place

Tam: NHL proposal being ‘reviewed,’ mandatory quarantine remains in place

Most Read