The sexual assault case against Bruce William Letford has been dismissed.
Letford’s trial reconvened at the Quinte Consolidated courthouse Tuesday with Crown Attorney Pardeep Bhachu explaining how the 93-year-old victim, who can’t be named under a publication ban, couldn’t be cross-examined because of her ill health and limited mobility.
Letford, a 43-year-old former personal support worker, was charged in 2015 of inappropriately touching the victim while giving her a bath at Belleville’s Belmont Long Term Care Home.
In October 2016, Justice Michael March ruled the woman’s statements were “not sufficiently trustworthy.” He said the statements could not be entered as evidence in the Crown’s case for the trial. Justice March took issue with how the victim had difficulty recalling some specifics of the incident and also gave off-track answers at times when questioned by police. At that time Crown Attorney Jodi Whyte requested some time to meet with the victim, access her options and see if any more could be accomplished.
Due to the fact the victim couldn’t be cross examined on Tuesday, defence lawyer John Bonn requested the charges be dismissed.
March agreed and told Letford he was ‘free to go’ and the charges were dismissed.
Following the ruling, Bonn said this is the ‘right outcome.’
“From the onset Mr. Letford maintained his innocence,” said Bonn. “This wasn’t a situation where there were deals trying to be worked out.
It’s been a very difficult 14 months for Mr. Letford. He has lost his job and this has had a devastating effect on him and his family.”
Bhachu says she may consider appealing the previous ruling about the admissibility of the evidence but it’s still too early to tell.
If she chooses to appeal she has 30 days to do so.