Man who failed to attend jury trial opts for new, judge alone trial

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A Yellowknife man who forced a mistrial after failing to show up at his sexual assault trial has waived his right to be tried by a judge and jury again on the same charges.

Alden Joseph Lennie, 35, was due in NWT Supreme Court late last month to answer to allegations he sexually assaulted a woman in Yellowknife in 2015.

He appeared for day-one of the jury trial, but after failing to show up the next two days, Justice Andrew Mahar was forced to declare a mistrial, sending a dozen jurors home.

A warrant for Lennie’s arrest was issued on Jan. 23. He was located and arrested “without incident” on Feb. 8, Yellowknife RCMP confirmed.

Why Lennie absconded and where he went are questions that will remain unanswered following Lennie’s brief appearance in NWT Supreme Court on Monday.

Lennie was given the possibility of being tried by a judge and jury again – if he explained his absence to the court.

Lennie chose not to as he appeared before Justice Louise Charbonneau, instead opting to be tried by a judge alone. In doing so, he effectively conceded he’d lost his right to jury trial after failing to attend his trial, his lawyer Jay Bran said.

Charbonneau said she hopes the matter can proceed in “the near future,” following the mistrial.

Along with the sexual assault charge, Lennie now faces a charge of failing to attend court.

The matter will be spoken to again once Crown and defence counsel have established their availability, at which time a new trial date may be set.

Four Crown witnesses are expected to be called to testify at the new, judge-alone trial.

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As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility to be there - day or night, rain or shine. When I’m not at court gathering stories, I’m in the office, making calls to lawyers, emailing RCMP and tracking down sources. After hours, I rely on the public to let me know what’s happening and where. Entering my second winter in Yellowknife since leaving my hometown of Peterborough, Ont., in October 2017, everyday on this beat continues to be challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. Got a story? Call me at (867) 766-8288 or shoot me an email at editorial@nnsl.com.

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