WINNIPEG — It’s expected that disgraced former junior hockey coach Graham James will ask to be released on bail on nine sex charges Wednesday morning, but the Crown will fight the move.
A bail application hearing has been set in provincial court for James, who has been held in the Winnipeg Remand Centre for the last month after turning himself in.
Crown attorney Colleen McDuff declined an interview request, but a spokesman for her office told The Canadian Press that McDuff will oppose bail and ask the judge to keep James behind bars.
James, 58, is accused of sexual assault, gross indecency and other offences involving three boys between 1979 and 1994. One of his accusers is Theo Fleury, who went on to star in the National Hockey League.
In an autobiography published last year, Fleury accused James of abusing him starting at the age of 14.
James coached junior and minor hockey teams in Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Sask., Swift Current, Sask., and Calgary. He pleaded guilty in 1997 to hundreds of assaults on two teenage players, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.
He was quietly pardoned a decade later — a fact that was revealed by The Canadian Press last April.
The news prompted the federal government to swiftly double the waiting period before convicted felons can apply for pardons.
Further restrictions, including a change that would deny child sex offenders the right to apply for a pardon, are currently being examined by a parliamentary committee.
James’s last known address was Guadalajara, Mexico. He turned himself into police at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in October after Winnipeg police issued an arrest warrant on the new charges.
James’s lawyer, Evan Roitenberg, declined an interview request Tuesday. He has been going over the Crown’s evidence since James’s arrest.
He has previously said that James thought he had moved past this chapter in his life but is “now faced with it again.”