KENTVILLE, N.S.—Prominent Toronto pastor Brent Hawkes has been found not guilty of gross indecency and indecent assault.
Provincial court Judge Alan Tufts handed down the verdict today in Kentville, N.S., saying he found significant inconsistencies in the testimony of the witnesses.
Hawkes, a high-profile rights activist who officiated at former NDP leader Jack Layton’s state funeral in 2011, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The charges stem from events in the mid-1970s, when Hawkes was a teacher in his mid-20s in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
The trial heard emotional testimony from a middle-age man who said Hawkes led him down a hallway naked during a drunken get-together at his trailer and forced oral sex on him in a bedroom when he was about 16 years old.
But taking the stand in his own defence last November, Hawkes categorically denied the allegations.