Halifax lawyer sentenced to three years in jail for sexual assault

A Halifax lawyer convicted of sexual assault was sentenced to three years in jail in a case that sparked protests from some who say it reflects the justice system’s bias against black men.

HALIFAX — A Halifax lawyer convicted of sexual assault was sentenced to three years in jail in a case that sparked protests from some who say it reflects the justice system’s bias against black men.

Lyle Howe, a black lawyer with a high public profile in the city, was found guilty by a jury of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman on March 20, 2011.

Before he was sentenced, Howe told the province’s Supreme Court that he is embarrassed and remorseful for his actions.

At his trial, he testified he had consensual sex with the woman, but the Crown argued she was impaired and did not give consent.

His conviction triggered a rally last month outside the courthouse where his supporters voiced their doubts about the verdict and raised concerns over what role race may have played in the case.

Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service defended its decision to prosecute Howe, saying the Crown determined it was in the public interest to proceed with the case.

Howe was acquitted of administering a stupefying substance when the jury delivered its verdict in May.

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society suspended his licence to practise.

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