Former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle to be tried on assault charges
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 25, 2019 5:42AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 4:51PM EDT
OTTAWA -- A Crown attorney says she expects lawyers for former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle to vigorously challenge the credibility of his spouse as they argue Boyle is innocent of charges he assaulted her.
Crown lawyer Meaghan Cunningham opened Boyle's trial in Ontario court Monday by saying that given the unusual and difficult experiences Caitlan Coleman has endured, it would be a mistake to conclude she was a willing participant in her husband's physical and sexual abuse.
Boyle and Coleman were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.
Pakistani forces freed the couple in October 2017 along with their three children, who were born during their captivity.
Two months later Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police and charged with offences including assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and causing someone to take a noxious substance.
All but one of 19 counts against Boyle relate to Coleman. A publication ban was partially lifted Monday to reveal that she is one of the alleged victims after she consented to being named. A ban remains in place on identifying the second alleged victim.
Boyle has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which concern incidents that allegedly occurred after he returned to Canada.
Coleman plans to testify during the case, which is being heard by Justice Peter Doody with no jury.
Boyle was released from jail last June with strict bail conditions. He was ordered to live with his parents in Smiths Falls, Ont. and wear a GPS ankle bracelet that can track his movements.
Boyle attended high school in Kitchener, Ont., and earned a degree from the University of Waterloo in 2005.
He married the Pennsylvania-raised Coleman in 2011 during a lengthy trip the pair took to South America.
The following year, they set off for Russia and travelled through Central Asia for several months, winding up in Afghanistan.
The family's dramatic rescue in 2017 made global headlines, and even led to a meeting for the family with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill, about a week before Boyle's arrest.