Crime

Sentencing adjourned in confinement case

Judge says it wouldn't be fair to sentence Andre Gray while Beals’ trial is still ongoing.

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Sentencing of a man convicted in the confinement and assault of a 15-year-old girl has been put off until February. The judge decided that the trial of the co-accused, Doreze Marvin Beals, should be complete first.

Andre Jerome Gray and his lawyer, Patrick MacEwen, appeared in court today for what was scheduled to be Gray’s sentencing.

In April 2014, Gray and co-accused Beals were arrested and charged with a number of offences, including kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. They were 18 at the time of the alleged incident.

The girl told police she had been held against her will for two days in the basement of Beals’ home in North Preston.

During the trial, the girl asked to testify behind a screen to protect her identity. Her name is protected by a publication ban as she is under age and the victim of sexual assault.

Gray pleaded guilty to confinement and common assault on Dec.14, 2015. Today, he and his lawyer appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for less than 20 minutes.

Gray appeared at ease in the courtroom, swaying left to right in his chair during the proceedings. He smiled and waved at people he knew in the gallery and stifled a laugh when a phone rang loudly while Judge Glen G. McDougall was reading and the owner was escorted out by the deputy sheriff.

Judge McDougall agreed with Gray’s lawyer that “it would be unfair” to sentence Gray while the co-accused Beals’ trial is continuing with ongoing evidence and arguments.

Gray’s lawyers and Judge McDougall had corresponded about this a day earlier, which Judge McDougall read for the record. Beals’ trial has gone on longer than expected, causing the delay.

The earliest date McDougall could offer for sentencing was Feb. 10, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. The new date they settled on was Feb. 25, 2016 at 11:00 a.m, the earliest all parties were available. The girl who accused Gray and Beals has given the judge a victim impact statement which she is expected to read at that time.

Beals’ trial is set to resume Friday, Jan. 22.

Gray will be sent back to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside until his sentencing.