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Ontario judge finds Joshua Boyle not guilty of all charges

Boyle's estranged wife alleged that throughout their captivity and after their return to Canada, Boyle was physically and mentally abusive towards her.

An Ontario judge has dismissed 19 charges, including sexual assault and harassment, against former Taliban captive Joshua Boyle. 

The charges stemmed from allegations made against Boyle by his estranged wife and co-captive in Afghanistan, Caitlan Coleman. Coleman alleged that throughout their captivity and after their return to Canada, Boyle was physically and mentally abusive towards her. Coleman claimed she was tied up and confined by Boyle. 

According to trial Judge Peter Doody, neither Coleman’s nor Boyle’s testimony was reliable.

“I do not believe her, just as I do not believe Mr. Boyle,” said Doody about Coleman. Doody claimed that Coleman’s credibility was questionable after she testified about mental “fits” and memory issues. Although Doody also doubted Boyle’s claims, the Crown was not able to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Criminal convictions require the court to find proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Boyle’s lawyer argued that certain acts, like spanking, fell within the marriage’s agreed boundaries given both Boyle and Coleman had a fondness for BDSM. According to Crown prosecutor Meghan Cunningham, Coleman was “terrified” of Boyle.

Boyle and Coleman were both captured by terrorists while backpacking through Afghanistan in 2012. According to Boyle who spoke to True North’s Candice Malcolm, the Taliban-linked group tried to recruit him on multiple occasions in the five years he was a captive. 

Boyle’s associations with Islamism have raised questions, including his past marriage with the sister of convicted terrorist Omar Khadr, Zaynab Khadr. Zaynab Khadr once stayed in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Afghanistan and defended the 9/11 attacks.  

After being released from captivity in 2017, Boyle was granted a private meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A photograph of Boyle and Coleman posing with Trudeau was released on Twitter from an account allegedly belonging to the Boyle family. The tweet alleges that Boyle had met with Trudeau “over other common interests.”

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