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Trial to continue for Calgary teacher accused of sex exploitation after Jordan application denied

A Calgary teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student will see his trial resume in July after a judge denied the defence application to stay the charges. 

Jason Selby, a former teacher at Western Canada High School, was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

On Wednesday, after Justice Sean Dunnigan’s decision to dismiss the defence’s Jordan application, prosecutor Pam McCluskey stayed the sexual assault charge.

A Jordan application is named after a Supreme Court decision that puts hard timelines on what is considered an unreasonable delay from when a charge is laid to when a trial concludes.

Case at 36-months delay

The accused’s lawyers, Alain Hepner and Jared Craig, filed a Jordan application in February, seeking to have both charges stayed.

In provincial court, cases must be wrapped up within 18 months, but Selby’s case has been before the courts for almost exactly double that amount of time.

Dunnigan issued his decision Wednesday morning, finding that after calculating delay attributable to or waived by defence, the trial will conclude 32 days under that 18-month deadline.

The judge also noted there were “unforeseen events” — two previous judges recused themselves due to conflicts — that could have reduced the delay further. 

Sex began weeks after grad

Throughout the piecemeal trial, which began last summer, court heard evidence that Selby was 33 years old when he began a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old former student.

A publication ban protects the young woman’s identity. CBC News is calling her Amy.

Amy testified that she and Selby began texting in 2018 when she was still a student in Grade 12.

In June of that year, about two weeks after she graduated, Amy testified that she and Selby had sex.

The age of consent in Canada is 16 years old unless one of the parties is in a position of trust or authority over the other. 

‘No power imbalance,’ says defence

On several occasions, Selby told the teen she had to keep their relationship a secret, according to Amy’s testimony.

Amy told the court she reported her former teacher to police in 2021 after she came to believe Selby had a sexual relationship with another teen.

By then, she says, she had realized how young she was when her own relationship with the teacher began.

Hepner previously indicated Selby’s defence will be to “demonstrate that the relationship between the parties was not exploitative and that there existed no power imbalance in favour of the accused.”

The trial will resume in July with further cross-examination of the complainant. 

Selby is no longer teaching.

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