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Sexual assault verdict expected in September

After a four-day trial this week, the verdict in an historical Sudbury sexual assault case is scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 29. Gordon Hall, 69, faces six of 13 charges in a trial that started July 28, for accusations dating back to the 1970s.
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Gordon Hall, the former Estaire-Wanup fire chief, will begin his pre-trial on Wednesday, July 16 for charges of decency and indecent assault. The charges date back to an incident that was alleged to have occurred in August 1973. File photo.
After a four-day trial this week, the verdict in an historical Sudbury sexual assault case is scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 29.

Gordon Hall, 69, faces six of 13 charges in a trial that started July 28, for accusations dating back to the 1970s.

Three men, now in their 50s, but former residents at the Bancroft Drive Boys' Home in the 1970s, testified Hall, who was the home's director at the time, touched them sexually.

Because the men were minors at the time of the alleged abuse, information that could identify them is protected under a publication ban.

Four of the charges against Hall concern alleged incidents involving one male teen that occurred in 1976. They included two counts of gross indecency – a charge that no longer exists under the Criminal Code – and two counts of assault.

Hall faced another charge of gross indecency related to another alleged victim.

The sixth charge was for indecent assault, concerning the third alleged victim.

The incidents were alleged to have taken place on a canoe trip, in a sauna on Hall's property and at his home in Estaire.

Hall has denied all charges, and his lawyer, Richard Pharand, made the unreliability of memory — particularly after almost four decades — a cornerstone of his defence.

For example, when asked to point out Hall in the courtroom, one of the alleged victims pointed to another man.

Pharand tried to have the four charges related to that alleged victim thrown out, but Justice Robert Del Frate denied the request.

Crown prosecutor Susan Bruce said the testimonies from the three men, who had not seen each other, or Hall, in more than 30 years, were too similar to be coincidental.

Hall is the former chief of the Estaire-Wanup Fire Department.


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