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Former SMU groundskeeper Percy retains new lawyer for remaining sexual assault trials


Matthew Albert Percy has new legal counsel for his next two sexual assault trials, set for early next year in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. - Eric Wynne
Matthew Albert Percy has new legal counsel for his next two sexual assault trials, set for early next year in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. - Eric Wynne

Matthew Albert Percy has hired a new lawyer for his next two sexual assault trials.

The 36-year-old Halifax man is accused of raping four women between 2013 and 2017.

Percy was found not guilty at his first trial in Halifax provincial court last August on charges of sexual assault, choking and voyeurism, from an encounter with a Saint Mary’s University student at his apartment Sept. 3, 2017.

The Crown’s appeal of the acquittals will be heard in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in October.

Last December, Percy was found guilty in provincial court on charges of sexual assault and voyeurism from an incident involving a different SMU student in her dorm room Sept. 15, 2017.

Percy worked at SMU as a groundskeeper at the time of both incidents.

Percy was handed a 30-month sentence in May, but the judge credited him with 768 days for his time on remand, leaving him with 144 days to serve.

The sentence also included three years’ probation, with a condition that Percy complete sexual offender programming and any other counselling his probation officer deems necessary.

In June, Percy filed an appeal of his convictions and parted ways with lawyer Brad Sarson, who had represented him at that trial.

Percy appeared in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on Thursday by video from the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou County for an update on his efforts to retain new legal counsel.

Peter Planetta confirmed for the court that he is now representing Percy.

Percy has two trials scheduled early next year in Supreme Court.

One will begin Feb. 18 and involves a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm, from an encounter with a woman at a Dalhousie University student residence in December 2014.

He is also supposed to stand trial March 17-27 on charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm, assault and choking, from an incident at a woman’s apartment in November 2013.

Planetta said he’s definitely available for the first trial and hopes to clear his schedule for the other hearing. If not, he said he will return to court as soon as possible to seek new dates.

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