A Nova Scotia judge has found prominent Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes not guilty of sex crimes dating back to the 1970s.
Hawkes, a high-profile LGBT and human rights activist who officiated at former NDP leader Jack Layton’s state funeral in 2011, pleaded not guilty to charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.
As Judge Alan Tufts acquitted 66-year-old Hawkes Tuesday in Kentville provincial court, there were gasps in the packed courtroom and brief applause.
Tufts said the complainant in the case gave “vivid testimony” during the trial, but it was contradicted by other evidence. He said the testimony was not reliable enough to support a conviction.
The judge also said he didn’t believe all of Hawkes’s testimony, but the onus was on the Crown to prove its case.
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