Bail hearing for former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle begins in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — A bail hearing is underway for former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle, who faces several assault charges.

The Ontario court proceedings — expected to last at least a full day — are subject to a publication ban.

Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police in December and charged with various offences including assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and causing someone to take a noxious substance.

The charges against Boyle relate to two alleged victims, but a court order prohibits the publication of any details that might identify them or any witnesses.

Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.

The couple, along with the three children they had during their five years in captivity, were freed by Pakistani forces last October. None of the charges, which relate to incidents that allegedly occurred between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30 — after Boyle returned to Canada — have been tested in court.

The family had been living in an Ottawa apartment for about a month when Boyle was arrested.

Lawrence Greenspon, a lawyer for Boyle, told the court in January that an initial evaluation found his client fit to stand trial, but added that he would benefit from a fuller assessment at a mental health centre in Brockville, Ont.

The psychiatric evaluation was completed earlier this spring.

The Canadian Press