Outside Charles Duncan's medical practice, in Fonthill, September 2019. VOICE PHOTO

Final pre-trial meeting set for May 10

The charges date back to the fall of 2019, but Charles Duncan will finally face justice this coming summer.

Dr. Charles Duncan, second from right, confers with lawyer Michael DelGobbo, far left, and his sons outside a St. Catharines courtroom in February, 2020. JOHN CHICK

Duncan, who practiced family medicine in Pelham for decades, resigned from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in October of 2019, after the college commenced an investigation into allegations against him of professional misconduct and incompetence. Duncan agreed to never reapply for registration as a physician in Ontario or any other jurisdiction.

After an alleged sexual assault victim of Duncan’s told her story to the Voice in the fall of 2019, several other women came forward with similar allegations. After a Voice editorial ran questioning the Niagara Regional Police’s apparent inaction in the face of the multiple allegations was Duncan formally charged and arrested in November of 2019.

The Crown is pursuing charges related to five females, and Niagara Regional Police have laid a total of seven charges of sexual assault and one of sexual exploitation. The women involved were aged 16 to 64 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Duncan, along with his attorneys Seth Weinstein and Jill Makepeace, were present in a video conference broadcast from a St. Catharines courtroom last Wednesday, March 31, presided over by Justice Deborah Calderwood. Assistant Crown Attorney Todd Morris represented the prosecution.

Her Honour advised the court that certain details of the charges against Duncan were subject to a publication ban.

It is uncertain whether Duncan himself will testify in the predicted 12-day trial, which is set for dates in late May, June, and July. May 31 is the first trial date, and the preference of all parties was that it be in-person, should pandemic restrictions not preclude this arrangement.

A confirmation hearing date is set for May the 10 at 10 AM at the Robert S.K. Welch Court House in St. Catharines, at which time additional submissions will be discussed.