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Corner Brook lawyer argues for traditional preliminary inquiry

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Shelley Senior has a concern that the preliminary inquiry may be on the verge of becoming extinct and that’s not something the Corner Brook lawyer wants to see.

Senior said preliminary inquiries have a place in the court system and provide an opportunity for discovery.

That’s why Senior is objecting to a Crown application to proceed with the preliminary inquiry by way of tendering the audio, video and transcripts of the statements of two men who alleged they were sexually assaulted by her client, Herbert Penney-Flynn.

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Penney-Flynn, 73, a former Corner Brook resident now living in Ontario, is charged with sexual assault; indecent assault on a male; buggery; gross indecency; administering, or causing to be administered, a noxious thing; and administering, or causing to be administered, a stupefying or overpowering drug.

Five of the alleged offences involve one male victim in 1982 and one alleged offence involves a second male in 1988. Both alleged victims were in their teens at the time and the offences are alleged to have taken place in this area.

Penny-Flynn’s preliminary inquiry is set to take place in provincial court on Dec. 21, and Crown attorney Trina Simms made the application before Judge Wayne Gorman on Monday afternoon.

Simms noted one of the victims currently lives in Alberta and the other in this area.

Senior said the alleged victims are two men in their 50s and the court is not talking about children and she would like to be able to cross examine them.

She said their statements are long, but short on detail and it’s the detail she needs to allow her client to make a full answering defence.

Senior said the case is about an alleged sexual assault on teenagers that was not brought forward until almost 37 years later.

She said because of that fact that it was a situation where it was not appropriate to do a paper preliminary inquiry and that it would be fair to the accused to do a traditional preliminary inquiry.

She indicated she was not opposed to the man who lives in Alberta appearing via video conference.

Gorman reserved his decision on the application and informed both parties that he would file a written decision in advance of Dec. 21.

Depending on that decision, Senior indicated she may file a separate application in relation to the matter.

Should he be committed to stand trial, Penney-Flynn has elected to be tried by judge alone in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He was not present for Monday’s hearing.

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