OTTAWA — Former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle, who faces a string of assault charges, will undergo a comprehensive psychiatric assessment.
Boyle’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, told an Ontario court Friday that an initial evaluation found his client fit to stand trial, but added he would benefit from a more extensive assessment at a mental-health centre in Brockville, Ont.
Boyle’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 26, when the assessment should be complete.
Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police late last month and charged with various offences, including eight counts of assault, two of sexual assault, two of unlawful confinement and one count of causing someone to take a noxious substance.
As a result of revisions from the Crown, Boyle now faces a total of 19 charges, up from 15.
The charges against the 34-year-old relate to two alleged victims, but a court order prohibits the publication of any details that might identify them or witnesses.
None of the charges — related to incidents that allegedly occurred after Boyle returned to Canada in October from his Afghan captivity — have been tested in court.
Greenspon would not speculate on how the coming report on Boyle’s mental state might affect his defence.
“We’ll have to wait and see the psychiatric assessment,” Greenspon said after the hearing. “That’ll go a long way to determining how we deal with the matter going forward.”
Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. The couple, and the three children they had during their five years in captivity, were freed by Pakistani forces last October.
The family had been living in an Ottawa apartment for about a month when Boyle was arrested.