A Halifax man charged in a high-profile 2018 sexual assault case is pleading not guilty, and his trial dates have been set for next year.
The prosecution service said in an email that Brent Alexander Julien entered his plea in Dartmouth provincial court today, and his trial is set to begin March 7.
Carrie Low has alleged two men confined and raped her on the outskirts of Halifax on May 18, 2018, as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
Low — who sought and received a court order permitting the use of her name — has also alleged that police mishandled key evidence in her case, and has pursued a lawsuit against police and a police complaints process.
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The sexual assault charge against Julien is the second criminal prosecution in the four year-old case.
Last year, Halifax police charged Alexander Thomas of East Preston, N.S., but before his trial began Thomas was found dead in what police said was a homicide.
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Low has said there was an improper “pattern of conduct” by the Halifax police and the RCMP in the investigation of her case.
Among a number of alleged policing failures, she has said members of their joint sexual assault investigation team didn’t visit the scene and were slow to have her clothing and blood tests processed.
She has alleged that when she inquired about her rape kit in March of 2019 — 10 months after the alleged assault — she learned it hadn’t been processed. She also has said she received confusing and contradictory messages on the progress of her case from various officers on the sexual assault investigation team.
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Low fought before the courts to have her allegations examined by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, after her complaint was initially dropped for being submitted too late. The refusal to hear her case was overturned by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Thomas’s defence lawyer, Mark Bailey, had been planning to call pretrial testimony from the initial RCMP investigator, who he anticipated would allege police conduct was so flawed that his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial had been breached.
In an interview earlier this year, Low said she was hopeful there was a strong case against Julien but also was concerned that the second criminal process would be protracted and create further delays in dealing with her complaints of improper police conduct.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2022.
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