‘His colleagues were out to get him:’ Protesters rally in support of Halifax lawyer Lyle Howe

Metro Halifax comments@cbpost.com
Published on June 26, 2014
Trina Briand McCalla speaks during a rally, at the George Dixon Centre Wednesday, for her son Lyle Howe who has been found guilty of sexual assault.
Desiree Finhert for Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - A Halifax group claims the legal community railroaded one of their own because he was too good a lawyer.

Over 60 people rallied at the George Dixon Center on Wednesday to show support for Lyle Howe who was convicted of sexual assault on May 31 and who is now awaiting sentencing, set for July 30.

“His colleagues are out to discredit him,” group spokesperson David Sparks told reporters during the rally. “Justice Kennedy I think has it in for Lyle … I think the justice system itself is out to get Lyle. I think this is the latest in a series of attempts to discredit him and to eventually force him out of the profession.”

Sparks told the crowd Howe’s office had been broken into at the behest of a fellow lawyer, and that charges against Howe in a separate matter had been dropped because of lack of evidence.

Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy presided over the sexual assault trial, which concluded after two days of jury deliberation.

Howe testified he had consensual sex with a then 19-year-old woman in 2011. The Crown argued the complainant could not give consent.

“He’s a good lawyer,” said Sparks. “He’s good at what he does. I think it’s jealousy. It’s envy. I think people want him stopped.”

The group marched to the Nova Scotia Law Courts to protest the outcome of the trial.

“It was a jury who rendered a verdict”

A Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service spokeswoman responded on Wednesday to the allegations the legal community has a vendetta against one of their own lawyers.

“When police lay a criminal charge, any charge against any individual the Crown Attorney evaluates the evidence,” Chris Hansen, director of communications, said. “If the evidence supports a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to proceed than the crown is obligated to proceed.”

Hansen explained if there is not enough evidence, or if there is no public interest, than the Crown cannot proceed.

“It was a jury who rendered a verdict,” said Hansen. “The Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court presided but it was the jury who deliberated and the jury who came back with the verdict.”