Nova Scotia

Former Halifax teacher acquitted of historical sex offences

A former Halifax-area school teacher has been acquitted of the historical sexual assault charges he was facing.

Two men had accused Jaddus Joseph Poirier of abusing them when they were in their early teens in the 1980s and he was one of their teachers. Both complainants are now in their 50s.

The two men were the only witnesses to testify at Poirier’s trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in March.

One of them alleged that Poirier assaulted him as a teenager when he spent the night at Poirier’s apartment in Dartmouth.

The other man alleged he was abused multiple times at the apartment, at the school and in the parking lot of a church.

Police charged Poirier with two counts of gross indecency and two counts of sexual assault. Gross indecency is no longer an offence under the criminal code, but it was in effect in the 1980s when the incidents were alleged to have occurred.

Too many contradictions: judge

Justice Richard Coughlan gave an oral decision in a hastily arranged hearing on Thursday afternoon. He was originally scheduled to deliver his decision on May 24 but there were fears that Poirier, who is receiving end-of-life care in hospital, could die before then.

Poirier’s failing health was evident during the trial. The 82-year-old was too weak for all-day hearings, so court adjourned at around noon on most days.

In his decision, Justice Coughlan reviewed the testimony of both men. He said there were too many contradictions and inconsistencies for him to convict.

“It would be dangerous to convict Mr. Poirier on the evidence before me,” the judge said.

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