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Crown withdraws charge against St. Mary’s chief

Chief Alan (Chicky) Polchies Jr., who was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of assault earlier this year, appeared in provincial court today to hear that his case is done.

The Crown prosecution has withdrawn the sexual assault charge laid against Chief Allan (Chicky) Polchies Jr. of St. Mary’s First Nation. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Chief Alan (Chicky) Polchies Jr., who was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of assault earlier this year, appeared in provincial court Wednesday to hear that his case is done.

The charges against Polchies, of St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton, stemmed from an incident in March. 

Court proceedings were put on hold in July when Polchies agreed to complete the Alternative Measures Program.

His charges were amended to one count of summary conviction assault.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Christopher Lavigne noted for the record that Polchies had “expressed an admission of the underlying incident that formed the basis of the charge.”

Judge Julian Dickson responded by asking, “The thing I’m interested in is, is the Crown withdrawing the charges?”

Lavigne replied, “With that caveat, yes we are.”

Statement prior to AFN meeting

Polchies was elected chief of St. Mary’s First Nation in June 2018, beating out four other candidates, including the incumbent Candice Paul.

On July 22, as chiefs from across the country were gathering in the Fredericton area for the 40th annual general meeting of the Assembly of First Nations, Polchies issued a statement.

He acknowledged that an allegation had been made against him by a member of his community.

“Which I would normally take to court to prove my innocence due to my belief of the lack of evidence required to obtain a conviction,” he said.

“However, the offer of post-charge diversion was made to me by the Crown prosecutor’s office, which I have fully accepted.”

Polchies’s lawyer told CBC News that his client was removed from the agenda of the opening ceremonies because of the assembly’s zero tolerance policy toward alleged sexual offences, but the organization did not respond to an interview request from CBC ​​​​​​ News.

However, Polchies did address the delegation from a microphone on the floor.

CBC News contacted the assembly late Wednesday afternoon seeking reaction to the news that the charge against Polchies had been withdrawn.

No response was received by end of day.

According to the provincial government’s website, a person, whether formally charged or not, might be diverted to the Alternative Measures Program if certain conditions exist, including that there’s sufficient evidence of a crime, and that  the person takes responsibility for the act forming the basis of the offence. The program includes intervention and accountability. 

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