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Lawyer quits, then changes mind in St. John's child sex charges case

Adam Oldford, 30, appeared in provincial court Wednesday, charged with allegedly soliciting sex from girls in a St. John's park.
Adam Oldford during a previous appearance in provincial court in St. John's. - Tara Bradbury file photo/The Telegram

Adam Oldford to go to trial in March 2019

For the second time this year, Adam Oldford's provincial court trial on child sex charges was postponed at the last minute due to a clash with his lawyer.

Oldford, 31, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 16 and sexual inference — touching a girl under 16 with his body for a sexual purpose — in connection with reports of a man soliciting sexual acts from young teenagers in Mundy Pond Park in St. John's.

Last spring, Oldford told the judge he was firing his Legal Aid lawyer, Jason Edwards, on the advice of private lawyer Bob Buckingham, after approaching him for advice in the hallway before court began.

On Wednesday, Oldford's new lawyer, Ken Hollett, asked permission from the judge to remove himself from the case, saying Oldford hadn't shown up for any appointments or returned any of his calls and letters.

"You haven't stayed in touch with Mr. Hollett and that's all your fault. You're an adult and it all rests with you."

— James Walsh, provincial court judge 

"What do you have to say to that?" provincial court judge James Walsh asked Oldford, who attended court with his mother.

Oldford said he had no cellphone with which to call Hollett, since he had been banned by the court from having one pending the outcome of his trial. He had been in and out of hospital, he said, and had trouble making morning appointments.

"My stomach is really ill and I have a hard time getting out of bed," Oldford told the judge.

"This is twice, Mr. Oldford, so the problem seems to be you," Walsh replied, as Oldford's mother shook her head. "You haven't stayed in touch with Mr. Hollett and that's all your fault. You're an adult and it all rests with you."

Walsh adjourned the court for 15 minutes to allow Hollett and Oldford to speak privately. When they returned. Hollett withdrew his application to be removed from the case, and said Oldford had committed to attending his appointments.

March 11 was set as the new date for Oldford's trial.

In August 2017, the RNC issued a public notice saying it had received a complaint of a man in a St. John’s park approaching young teenage girls and attempting to befriend them before trying to solicit them for sexual activity. The man allegedly told the girls he was significantly younger than his actual age, police said.

The next day, police issued a media release saying they had arrested a man in connection with that investigation. Oldford appeared in court the day after that, and was later released on bail, eventually entering not guilty pleas to both charges. The RNC said it had received only one formal complaint, but suspected there were other potential young victims.

Earlier in August, a mother had turned to social media to post a warning about a man who she said had sent inappropriate online messages to her daughter after meeting her in Mundy Pond Park.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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