2019-07-17

One charge against Bridgewater’s former top cop dropped at scheduled start of Supreme Court trial

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>KEITH CORCORAN, PHOTO</p><p>Former Bridgewater Police Chief John Collyer enters the courtroom Monday.</p>

The Crown dropped one of the sexual exploitation charges facing Bridgewater's former top cop on the first day of his scheduled trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Justice Mona Lynch dismissed the charge July 8 at the request of Crown prosecutor Roland Levesque, told the Bridgewater court he wasn't proceeding on the sexual exploitation allegation - invitation to sexual touching - against the town's former police chief. No explanation was given as to why the Crown reached the decision.

John William Collyer, 55, of Crouses Settlement in Lunenburg County, is accused of touching a young girl with his hand for a sexual purpose and sexually assaulting the same girl between May and July of 2016.

The prosecution wasn't in a position to call trial evidence July 8 because the Crown and defence are expected to argue admissibility of evidence concerning the complainants' previous social media communications that may be of a sexual nature.

Six days had been set aside for the trial, which is heard by judge alone, in Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Collyer, represented by Dartmouth lawyer David Bright, was placed on administrative leave in August 2016 after it went public that the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the province's independent police oversight agency, was investigating his actions in relation to a female teen. He was suspended in May 2017 when word came that SIRT laid charges.

Collyer had been a member of the Bridgewater's police force between 1990 and 2018. He rose to the rank of deputy chief in 2009 before becoming chief, a role he assumed between 2011 and 2018.

Collyer received the provincial justice minister's crime prevention leadership award in 2010 for his volunteer work with the local branch of youth mentoring charity.

A provincial court judge deemed there was enough evidence to warrant a supreme court trial following a day-and-half-long preliminary inquiry in April 2018 during which three witnesses testified.

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