Friday, September 10, 2004

Preliminary hearing begins for Canadian charged under sex tourism law

A man accused of sex-torture crimes -- some allegedly involving children in foreign countries -- pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 28 charges. The charges against Donald Bakker, who has a young child of his own, include sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement.

Sixteen of the 28 counts are under Canada's so-called sex tourism law, which was passed in 1997 and amended in 2002.

Outside court, Bakker's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, said he intends to challenge the constitutionality of the so-called sex-tourism law if Bakker is committed to stand trial.

A publication ban has been placed on the preliminary hearing that was scheduled for five weeks in provincial court. Bakker, who was arrested in December, is in custody. He sat beside his lawyer during proceedings, dressed in red jail garb. He has elected to be tried by judge and jury.

Source: Canadian Press, Sept. 7/04.