03/25/2015 08:32 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Andrew Younger, Nova Scotia Cabinet Minister, Resigns As Court Case Continues

HALIFAX - A key member of the Nova Scotia cabinet has resigned from his energy portfolio three months after he took a leave of absence after a woman was charged with assaulting him.

Andrew Younger had been on temporary leave from his cabinet post since Dec. 23 after a woman was charged with assaulting him on or about Oct. 22, 2013, the day the Liberal government assumed power after the last provincial election.

A news release issued Wednesday by the premier's office said Younger submitted his resignation on Tuesday but will continue to represent the Halifax-area riding of Dartmouth East.

In an interview, Younger said the resignation was at his request and not influenced by the legal case.

"The court case really hasn't played a role in this decision at all," said Younger.

He said speculation from media reports about the incident have taken a toll on his family as have a series of unrelated written death threats are being investigated by police.

But Younger said his resignation was more the result of too much time away from his former energy portfolio with a budget looming during the upcoming session of the legislature.

"To come back into that cabinet role when I really haven't been involved in the last couple of months in the development of that budget ... I think would probably do a disservice to the government."

Premier Stephen McNeil also said he didn't ask for Younger's resignation.

"Andrew asked for his leave and we granted him that," McNeil said.

The woman charged in Younger's case, Tara Gault, has pleaded not guilty to the assault charge and is scheduled to go to trial Nov 4.

Michel Samson was sworn in as energy minister Tuesday. Samson also heads the portfolios of economic and rural development, tourism and Acadian affairs.

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