Ex-Taliban hostage found not guilty of abusing wife

Ottawa (AFP) –


A Canadian man once held hostage with his American wife in Afghanistan on Thursday was found not guilty of assaulting her following their release from captivity.

Joshua Boyle, 36, was accused of 19 charges including assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement, criminal harassment and making death threats against his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and another person in the months after the couple returned to Canada after their five-year hostage ordeal.

The court has banned identification of the second alleged victim.

Ontario Court Judge Peter Doody said the evidence was largely circumstantial while neither Boyle nor Coleman were credible or reliable.

"I do not believe her, just as I do not believe Mr. Boyle," he said in court.

Boyle and Coleman, who married in 2011, were kidnapped by the Taliban during what they described as a backpacking trip through Afghanistan in 2012.

They were later transferred to the custody of the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.

The couple were freed in October 2017, along with their three young children -- all of whom were born in captivity. A fourth was born afterward.

The court heard Boyle's 911 call on the day Coleman walked out of the couple's Ottawa apartment at the end of December 2017. He claimed she was mentally unstable, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, and might harm herself.

But the call triggered a police investigation that led to him being charged.