Laxton pleads not guilty to sexual assault

The former Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge in Yukon territorial court on Jan. 18.

The former Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge in Yukon territorial court on Jan. 18.

David Laxton was charged in August 2016 in connection with an alleged sexual assault that occurred in February 2016.

Laxton, who was a Yukon Party MLA at the time, left the party and resigned from his position as Speaker in May 2016.

He later revealed his decision was related to an allegation of sexual harassment made against him.

In an interview with the News in May 2016 he said the incident occurred during a meeting in his office with a long-time acquaintance, whom he hugged and kissed twice on the mouth as they were parting ways.

Laxton said it “became a normal thing” over the years of their friendship, adding it was never romantic.

He was slated to run in last fall’s territorial election in the Porter Creek Centre riding but was dropped by his party over the harassment allegations.

In July 2016 the Yukon Human Rights Commission released a statement saying Laxton and the woman had reached a “mutually agreeable resolution.”

A month later criminal charges were filed.

The former Speaker is due back in court on Jan. 27 to fix a trial date.

Because the crown prosecutor chose to proceed summarily the trial will be automatically a judge-only trial in Yukon territorial court.

Laxton also changed lawyers and is now represented by criminal defence lawyer Andre Roothman.

-With files from Maura Forrest

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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