In a decision that may be the first of its kind in the Northwest Territories, a Yellowknife man, charged with sexual assault, has been banned from drinking alcohol while out on bail but he can smoke marijuana.
Alden Lennie, 35, was in court Thursday afternoon when his lawyer Jay Bran asked the judge to stipulate that Lennie could not consume illegal drugs while out on bail, but he could use cannabis, which became legal in Canada last October.
Bran had no issues with the booze ban, partly because alcohol may have played a role in the alleged sexual assault.
Before legalization, marijuana for people out on bail was covered in a blanket ban on all illegal drugs.
Judge Andrew Mahar granted Bran’s request while otherwise placing Lennie on strict bail conditions including a curfew and a requirement that he surrender to RCMP and be placed in custody one week before his trial.
A trial date has not yet been set.
Lennie, who is accused in a 2015 sexual assault on a woman in Yellowknife, made headlines back in January when he didn’t show up for his trial, just one day after a jury had been selected.
A mistrial was declared and Lennie was eventually re-arrested in February and further charged with failure to attend court.
He later abandoned his right to a jury trial and elected to be tried by a judge alone.
Mahar warned Lennie to make sure he showed up for his next trial.
It has never been made entirely clear where he was when he was supposed to be in court.
The trial could have begun on Thursday but Crown Prosecutor Blair McPherson asked the judge for an adjournment explaining that the victim could not testify due to health reasons.
Both sides are to be back in court on May 17, possibly to set a date for trial.
Lennie is not required to attend court that day.