Outside Charles Duncan's former office. Duncan closed his practice on October 31, 2019. VOICE PHOTO

Former family physician charged with sexually assaulting five females

Guilty on all counts.

That was the verdict received by former Pelham family physician Charles Duncan on Friday, Jan. 21, via teleconference from a St. Catharines courtroom.

Justice Deborah Calderwood was among those appearing via Zoom, with only the court clerk and a few spectators physically present in the courtroom at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines.

Artist’s rendering of Charles Duncan’s appearance via teleconference on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. VOICE GRAPHIC

Calderwood reiterated that a publication ban prohibited the release of any information that could identify the named complainants in the case.

Duncan, 77, was charged with six counts of sexual assault under Section 271 of the Criminal Code, in relation to five different complainants. Calderwood pronounced him guilty on all counts.

The charges stemmed from acts committed by Duncan in his medical practice, and elsewhere, between the dates of January 1 and October 31, 1999; November 27, 2000; June 23, 2009; June 30, 2009; September 25, 2016, and between the dates of September 1 and September 30, 2018.

The next court appearance for Duncan will involve Crown counsel and defence lawyers discussing sentencing with Calderwood.

[RELATED: Victim reaction to the verdict]

His lawyers informed the court that Duncan has medical issues which need to be addressed in February, and suggested a March date for sentencing submissions. However, Calderwood and the lawyers could not find a date that fit their respective schedules in March, and a date of Friday, April 8 was set.

Duncan, who practiced family medicine in Pelham for decades, resigned from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in October 2019 and gave up his license to practice medicine, after the College commenced an investigation into allegations against him of professional misconduct and incompetence.

After one of Duncan’s victims told her story to the Voice that autumn, several other women came forward with similar allegations. Following a Voice editorial questioning why Niagara police had not acted earlier, Duncan was arrested by the NRPS and was ultimately charged with seven counts of sexual assault and one of sexual exploitation by February 2020.

The women involved were aged 16 to 64 at the time of the assaults.

 

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