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Chad Michael Walsh will be sentenced on one charge, enter plea on another on Dec. 6

Man convicted of sexual assault facing second sexual assault charge

Chad Michael Walsh has dates with two provincial court judges in St. John’s Dec. 6: one will sentence him for sexually assaulting a woman in 2011, while the other will hear his plea on a new charge of sexually assaulting a different woman this past August.

It will be the Bay Bulls man’s second time being sentenced for the 2011 assault. He originally pleaded not guilty, but was convicted in 2013 after a trial and given a 15-month jail term, along with a 20-year registration on the sex offenders’ list.

He appealed to Newfoundland Supreme Court and his conviction was overturned in 2015, with the appeals court finding the trial judge had erred by “failing to consider the application of the defence of mistake of fact in the unusual circumstances of this case.” A new trial was ordered.

Walsh and his family had been camping with friends in a trailer, the court heard, when Walsh got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. On his return, he got into the female complainant’s bed and touched her genital area with his hand and his penis.

Walsh, now 39, denied he had touched her in that way, saying he was drunk and had gotten into her bed by mistake and put his arm around her, thinking she was his wife.

The appeals court noted Walsh’s wife lay nearby, as did two young boys; Walsh and the complainant had just met; neither had exhibited any sexual interest in the other; Walsh testified he was happily married and loved his wife; and both Walsh and the woman jumped out of bed quickly.

The appeals court cited these as factors it considered “sufficient to give an air of reality to the defence of mistake of fact” in the case when it overturned Walsh’s conviction.

The Crown also filed an appeal, asking the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold Walsh’s conviction and deny a new trial. That application was dismissed.

Walsh, who is represented by lawyer Rosellen Sullivan, went to trial on the charge again, and was found guilty of sexual assault on July 28 of this year by provincial court judge James Walsh.

Two weeks later, Walsh is alleged to have sexually assaulted another woman.

He was arrested by Ferryland RCMP officers and appeared in provincial court Aug. 16, when he was released from custody with conditions that he stay away from the woman and her partner, and that he remain in the province unless he is working overseas, in which case he must let police know in advance.

Walsh’s new case was called briefly in court Thursday, when it was set over until the December date.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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