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Former Fort Simpson mayor cleared of charges
Supreme Court judge doesn't believe witnesses' testimony in Duncan Canvin trial

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 14, 2012

Duncan Canvin walked out of court in Fort Simpson a free man on June 13.

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Criminal charges against Duncan Canvin of Fort Simpson have been dismissed. - NNSL file photo

Supreme Court Justice John Vertes dismissed the sexual assault charges.

Canvin, 54, a former Fort Simpson mayor, Chamber of Commerce president and former RCMP officer, had been charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference while in a position of trust.

The charges related to allegations made by two male complainants about incidents they said took place in Canvin's residence between 1992 and 1996. The court heard testimony from the two complainants and three witnesses on June 12.

On June 13 Vertes said the Crown's evidence was "not reasonably capable of belief." There were contradictions, frailties and improbabilities in the evidence from the witnesses, Vertes said. The Crown also failed to conclusively show that there wasn't discussion among the complainants and the witnesses to make their stories consistent prior to trial, said Vertes.

"These types of cases are obviously very difficult," for both the people involved and the whole community, the judge said.

The Crown took a responsible and reasonable approach, Vertes said before closing the trial.

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