01/28/2015 09:35 EST | Updated 03/30/2015 05:59 EDT

Assault Case Involving Andrew Younger, Nova Scotia Cabinet Minister, Goes To Court


HALIFAX - The case of a woman charged with assaulting a Nova Scotia cabinet minister will return to court March 18 for a plea.

Defence lawyer Joel Pink appeared in Halifax provincial court Wednesday on behalf of his client, 28-year-old Tara Gault, who did not attend.

The Crown is proceeding on the charge as a less serious summary offence rather than an indictment, Pink said.

Court documents say Gault must abstain from contacting Andrew Younger or his wife Katia, as well as another woman, except through legal counsel.

The information says Gault is charged with assaulting Younger on or about Oct. 22, 2013, the day the Liberal government took power after the last provincial election.

Younger, the member of the legislature for Dartmouth East, requested a temporary leave from his ministerial duties on Dec. 23, citing unspecified personal matters.

He has been stripped of his ministerial compensation of about $49,000 but is maintaining his salary as a legislature member, which is about $89,000.

Media reports citing unnamed sources have said Younger was allegedly assaulted in October 2013 by a woman who was a Liberal staffer.

Younger has declined comment on the reports but in a statement he has taken issue with them.

"A significant portion of the information reported as fact in the news and social media about the incident police allege to have occurred against me has been inaccurate and speculative, which is unfair to all those involved in this matter and those close to them," he said.

Younger hasn't offered specifics about the inaccuracies.

Premier Stephen McNeil has said Younger will be allowed to remain on leave from cabinet for as long as it takes him to deal with the personal issues he is facing.

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