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British sailor's gang rape case adjourned, verdict expected Friday

HALIFAX — The high-profile case of a British sailor accused in an alleged gang rape at a Halifax-area military base has been adjourned until Friday.

Justice Patrick Duncan was scheduled to deliver his verdict in Darren Smalley's case Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, but he set the matter over until Friday to accommodate "court scheduling issues."

"I thank you for making the adjustments to accommodate us," Duncan told Crown and defence lawyers. "I apologize for any inconvenience to you, and to you Mr. Smalley, as well. I understand the pressures that exist in the circumstances."

Smalley is charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a sexual assault involving one or more people in barracks at 12 Wing Shearwater on April 10, 2015.

The complainant testified at his trial last fall that she went to sleep next to a sailor, and later awoke face down and naked as at least three men sexually assaulted her.

Smalley was part of a Royal Navy hockey team that was in Halifax to compete in a tournament.

He was one of four British sailors originally charged.

Charges against Simon Radford were stayed early during the trial because he was being treated in hospital for an infection.

The Crown has said it will make a decision on whether to reinstitute the charges against Radford before the expiry of the stay of proceedings this October, and the verdict in Smalley's case may impact that decision.

Charges against the other two men, Craig Stoner and Joshua Finbow, were dropped.

Several days into a preliminary inquiry in April 2016, charges were dropped against Stoner, while charges against Finbow were withdrawn in December 2017.

The Crown said the prospect of convicting Finbow became unrealistic after Duncan deemed his police statement inadmissible at trial.

Smalley did not testify at the judge-only trial.

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Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press

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