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Ex-hostage Boyle makes video court appearance

By The Associated Press
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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canadian ex-hostage Joshua Boyle will remain in jail following a brief appearance via video link at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday after he was charged with 15 offenses, including sexual assault, following his release from captivity in Afghanistan.

A justice of the peace granted lawyer Ninetta Caparelli's request for adjournment until Monday so the defense can work on a bail plan.

Boyle had a beard and wore an orange jumpsuit in Wednesday's appearance, which lasted a few minutes.

Boyle, his wife Caitlan and their three children were freed in October in Pakistan, five years after the couple was abducted by a Taliban-linked militant group during a backpacking trip in neighboring Afghanistan. The children were born in captivity.

The purported acts allegedly occurred between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30 after Boyle returned to Canada. A publication ban bars reporting information that could identify the alleged victims.

The charges include eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement and one count of causing someone to "take a noxious thing, namely Trazodone," an antidepressant. There is also a charge of uttering a death threat and a charge of misleading a police officer.

Before the matter was adjourned, Justice Norman Boxall was told Boyle has retained prominent Ottawa criminal lawyer Lawrence Greenspon as part of his defense team, although Greenspon was not in court. No family members of Boyle or his wife attended.

Boyle's attorney's issued a statement after the hearing, saying he is presumed innocent.

"He has no criminal record and has never been in trouble with the police. As Mr. Boyle has only just been charged, we are waiting to receive more information (disclosure) about these allegations so that we can respond to them appropriately in court," the statement said.

In a statement to the Toronto Star, Boyle's wife wrote, "I can't speak about the specific charges, but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this."

"Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions," she added, "but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him. As to the rest of us, myself and the children, we are healthy and holding up as well as well we can."

Taped to the Boyle family's front door at their apartment in Ottawa was a handwritten sign asking the media to respect their privacy. A woman speaking to young children could be heard inside, but they didn't respond to a knock on the door.

Boyle told The Associated Press in October that his wife had been hospitalized in Ottawa, but did not specify why she was taken to the hospital.

Boyle also told AP that he and his wife decided to have children even while held captive because they always planned to have a big family.

"We're sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands," Boyle said. "We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn't want to waste time. Cait's in her 30s, the clock is ticking."

Boyle said then that their three children were 4, 2 and "somewhere around 6 months."

"Honestly we've always planned to have a family of 5, 10, 12 children ... We're Irish, haha," he wrote in an email in October.

The parents of Caitlan Boyle, who is from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, said after the rescue that they were elated she had been freed, but they also expressed anger at their son-in law for taking their pregnant daughter to Afghanistan.

Pakistani soldiers rescued the family in an operation Oct. 11 aimed at their captors from the Taliban-linked Haqqani group. The Pakistanis caught the Haqqani fighters at some point after they had moved with their captives across the border from Afghanistan. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the operation was based on a tip from U.S. intelligence.

Boyle was once briefly married to Zaynab Khadr, the older sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr and the daughter of a senior al-Qaida financier who had contacts with Osama bin Laden.

The Canadian-born Omar Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight and was taken to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Officials had discounted any link between that background and Boyle's capture, with one describing it in 2014 as a "horrible coincidence."

Boyle and his family met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the leader's office last month.

___

Associated Press writer Tracey Lindeman reported this story in Ottawa and AP writer Rob Gillies reported from Toronto.

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