January 26, 2018 / 5:33 PM / 7 months ago

Freed Canadian hostage, facing assault charges, to get psychiatric assessment

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Former Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle, who faces a number of criminal charges including assault, sexual assault and forcible confinement, will spend up to 60 days in a psychiatric facility for evaluation, a court said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving with his wife and three children at Toronto Pearson International Airport, nearly 5 years after he and his wife were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

The charges filed earlier this month are for crimes prosecutors have said occurred in Canada after Boyle and his family returned to the country in October 2016. Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were kidnapped in October 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan.

The specifics of the accusations against Boyle have not been made public. The court has imposed a publication ban that prevents media from reporting on information that could identify any victims or witnesses.

Boyle, 34, now faces 19 charges, his lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said, four more than previously. Details on the additional charges were not immediately available from the court.

The original charges included eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of forcible confinement and one count of uttering death threats.

Boyle will be sent to an in-patient facility south of Ottawa as soon as a bed is available and will be evaluated for possible treatment, Greenspon told reporters outside the court.

When Boyle and his wife returned to Canada with their three children born in captivity, Boyle said a fourth child had been murdered and his spouse raped after their capture by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network. The Taliban denied the accusations of rape and murder. [nL2N1MP02P][nL4N1MQ07B]

The family met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Parliament Hill office in December. Asked later by reporters about the meeting, Trudeau said it had been approved by intelligence and security agencies.

Boyle’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 26.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bill Trott

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