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Charges withdrawn against Marystown man

Two Newfoundland men pleaded guilty to offences under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and were sentenced at provincial court in Grand Bank last month.
Provincial court in Grand Bank. - SaltWire File Photo

Keith Barry appealed 2016 provincial court ruling

GRAND BANK, N.L. —

Keith Barry, a Marystown man who in 2016 was sentenced to 309 days for offences against a minor, has had all charges against him withdrawn by the Crown.

The matter was called in provincial court in Grand Bank on Thursday, July 11, but counsel for the Crown did not call any evidence and the charges were withdrawn.

In November of 2016, Judge Harold Porter sentenced Barry to a period of incarceration after he was found guilty of offences involving a minor, including touching for a sexual purpose, invitation to sexual touching, sexual assault, breach of probation, providing liquor to a minor and providing tobacco to a minor.

Related story: Marystown man sentenced for sexual assault and other charges

An ancillary order was also set that prohibited Barry from having contact with persons under the age of 16 for a period of 10 years. A DNA sample was also ordered for a database.

Following his release in June 2017, Barry filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador. In the written appeal decision, Justice Gale Welsh wrote that the issue was whether the refusal of the trial judge to grant an adjournment at the request of Barry’s lawyer when he was not present in court resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

In background information provided in the decision it states that on May 26, 2016, Barry pled not guilty to the charges and a trial date was set for July 18, 2016, at which time Barry advised the court that he had dismissed his lawyer due to a breakdown of the solicitor-client relationship. This resulted in the matter being adjourned to Aug. 30, 2016.

Barbara Baker, who was assigned as counsel for the accused, filed an application with the court in August to give her more time to prepare for the trial and to have an opportunity to speak with Barry. The application was rejected and the trial proceeded in the absence of Barry.

In conclusion, Justice Welsh wrote, “In the circumstances, the trial judge and the summary conviction appeal judge each erred by emphasizing irrelevant factors, in particular, Mr. Barry’s absence from the court room, and by failing to consider relevant factors, particularly defence counsel’s request, with reasons, for an adjournment.”

Justice Welsh ordered a retrial, which did not proceed once the Crown did not call any evidence on the matter.

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