2018-08-22

Trial dates set for top cop accused of sex offences

by Keith Corcoran

Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial dates are set in the case against Bridgewater's suspended top cop indicted on sex charges.

John William Collyer, 54, the town's municipal police chief since 2011, is slated to go to trial over a six-day period in July 2019.

The Crown and defence also scheduled four days next April to talk about pre-trial issues in what's called a voir dire, a hearing within a trial to test whether or not evidence is admissible.

Collyer, of Crouses Settlement in Lunenburg County, elected in July 2017 to have his trial heard in Nova Scotia Supreme Court by judge alone.

Halifax attorney Roland Levesque of the province's special prosecutions section is dealing with the case on behalf of the Crown. Dartmouth lawyer David Bright is Collyer's defence counsel.

In April, a provincial court judge deemed there was enough evidence to warrant a trial following a day-and-half-long preliminary inquiry during which three witnesses testified. A court-ordered ban currently prevents any publicity of evidence heard during those proceedings.

Collyer is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault. The allegation that he touched a young girl with his hand for a sexual purpose and the charge of sexual assault in relation to the same complainant are alleged to have occurred between May and July of 2016. The charge that he invited the same young person to touch him for a sexual purpose is alleged to have occurred between April and July 2016.

Collyer was placed on administrative leave in August 2016 after it went public that the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the province's independent police oversight agency, was investigating his actions in relation to a female teen. He was suspended in May 2017 when word came that SIRT laid charges.

Collyer has been a member of the Bridgewater's police force since 1990. He rose to the rank of deputy chief in 2009 before becoming chief.

He received the provincial justice minister's crime prevention leadership award in 2010 for his volunteer work with South Shore Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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