Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who was held captive in Afghanistan for five years with his family and now faces more than a dozen criminal charges, will undergo a 60-day in-patient psychological assessment in Brockville, Ont., before his next court appearance in March.
The 34-year-old was seen in court Friday via a video link from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, wearing a thick chinstrap beard and an orange jumpsuit.
He has been held at the jail since he was arrested in Ottawa on New Year’s Day, and is being represented by lawyers Lawrence Greenspon and Eric Granger.
Greenspon told court Friday that Boyle has been seen by a doctor, who declared Boyle fit to stand trial.
However, a more in-depth 60-day assessment was recommended.
It will happen at the Brockville Mental Health Centre’s forensic treatment unit.
Boyle’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 26, once again via video link.
A judicial pre-trial — a closed-door proceeding involving a judge, the Crown and defence to talk about matters such as how long a trial might last — happened Wednesday afternoon.
Boyle is charged with:
Police allege the offences happened in Ottawa between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30. None of the charges has been proven in court.
Court records show there are two alleged victims, but their identities are protected by a publication ban.
‘The kids and I are doing OK’
Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three children were freed in October, five years after the couple was abducted while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. The children were born in captivity.
In an interview with The Fifth Estate‘s Habiba Nosheen after Boyle’s arrest, Coleman said she hopes Boyle gets the help he needs and that she and her children are doing all right.
“The kids and I are doing OK given the circumstances,” Coleman said.
Upon Boyle’s return to Canada, he told CBC News that members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network killed their infant daughter and raped his wife during the years they were held captive.
Over their five years in captivity, the family was moved between 23 different locations within 50 kilometres of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and spent time in both countries.
During that time, Boyle said his family was shuffled among at least three prisons. One was remarkably barbaric, he said, while another one was particularly violent. He and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.
Boyle settled into his parents’ home in Smiths Falls, Ont., when he returned to Canada in October, but court records show his most recent address was in Ottawa.
‘Never been in trouble’
Granger and Greenspon wrote in an emailed statement to CBC News after Boyle’s arrest that he is presumed innocent and has no criminal history.
“He has no criminal record and has never been in trouble with the police. As Mr. Boyle has only just been charged, we are waiting to receive more information (disclosure) about these allegations so that we can respond to them appropriately in court,” the statement reads.
“As the matter is currently before the courts, we have no further comments at this time, and Mr. Boyle will not be making any statements.”
Ottawa police have declined to comment on the case. A man who answered the phone at Boyle’s parents’ home in Smiths Falls said, “We don’t have any comment,” before hanging up.