POLITICS

Man charged with confining, assaulting boy to plead guilty next week: lawyer

05/16/2013 10:24 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - A man accused of confining and sexually assaulting a teenage boy at a home in rural Nova Scotia will plead guilty to some charges in the case, his lawyer said Thursday.

Mike Taylor said in an interview that David James Leblanc will enter guilty pleas on a number of charges when he appears next Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater.

Taylor declined to specify which charges Leblanc intends to plead guilty to, but said the matter would be finalized when the pleas are entered.

"I don't want to get into the details of them, but ... (the charges) basically encompass the allegations," Taylor said from his office in Halifax.

Taylor said the remaining charges would be dropped by the Crown, likely during sentencing about two or three weeks after Leblanc pleads.

Leblanc, 48, is charged with seven offences in relation to the alleged incident last fall in Upper Chelsea, about 130 kilometres southwest of Halifax. They include sexual assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement, uttering a death threat, kidnapping, administering a noxious substance with intent to cause bodily harm and breach of conditions.

Taylor said Leblanc will also enter guilty pleas next Thursday in an unrelated case in which he allegedly photographed and sexually assaulted two boys, aged five and two. He also didn't specify which charges Leblanc will plead guilty to in that case.

Leblanc was arrested in December 2010 and charged with two counts of sexual assault, as well as single counts of sexual interference and making, accessing, distributing and possessing child pornography.

Taylor said Leblanc decided a few days ago to plead guilty to some of the charges in both cases.

"He wants it to be over with," said Taylor. "As people in that situation often do, they just want it done with, over with, and move on and start doing their time."

Leblanc will be sentenced on both matters simultaneously, Taylor said, adding that the defence and the Crown will submit a joint sentencing recommendation.

"We'll work out the final details and come back, but there's no need for a lengthy delay."

Taylor wouldn't elaborate on what kind of prison term he is seeking.

Police began investigating the alleged confinement of the teen last September after a woman reported that a barefoot boy arrived at her home chained at his wrists and ankles.

The RCMP have said they believe the 16-year-old was held captive for 10 to 14 days before he was able to escape.

Leblanc was arrested Sept. 30 in northern Ontario after a Canada-wide manhunt. At the time, police were also searching for 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham, whose body was later found near the area where Leblanc was arrested.

Foul play was not suspected in his death.

A third man, John Leonard MacKean, was charged in November with sexual assault and communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18 in relation to the alleged confinement.

He has elected trial by judge and jury in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 25 in Bridgewater.