Final submissions now to be made on Oct. 8
The trial of Charles Duncan, the former family doctor charged with multiple sexual assault and exploitation offences dating back to the fall of 2019, is drawing closer to a verdict.
Duncan, who practiced family medicine in Pelham for decades, resigned from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in October 2019, after the college commenced an investigation into allegations against him of professional misconduct and incompetence.
After an alleged sexual assault victim of Duncan’s told her story to the Voice that autumn, several other women came forward with similar allegations. Duncan was formally charged and arrested by Niagara Regional Police in November 2019. The women involved were aged 16 to 64 at the time of the alleged incidents.
On Monday, Assistant Crown Attorney Todd Morris told presiding judge Deborah Calderwood and Duncan’s lawyers, Seth Weinstein and Jill Makepeace, via videoconference, that he needed more time to finish his 1000-page document review in the case, so as to file a written submission for Duncan’s defence team to critique. Justice Calderwood proposed an October 4 Zoom meeting with both counsels to confirm that the submissions would be ready for discussion on Friday, October 8, 10 AM, in Courtroom 5 of the Robert S.K. Welch Court House in St. Catharines.
Duncan is apparently experiencing some undisclosed health issues, and the court was agreeable to accommodate his medical appointments. Should the October 8 date not prove workable for Duncan, the case will be postponed until early November.
Duncan’s defence team opted for trial by a judge, rather than by a jury. Duncan pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him at the beginning of the case. A publication ban is in place to protect the identities of the women who gave testimony.