Former Afghanistan captive Joshua Boyle in court for allegedly assaulting his wife

Joshua Boyle, a former hostage held by a terror group in Afghanistan, has gone on trial in Canada on charges that he repeatedly assaulted his wife.

Mr Boyle faces 19 charges, including sexual assault. A partial gag order was lifted as the trial started Monday, revealing that all but one of the 19 charges relate to his American wife, Caitlan Coleman of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania.

Mr Boyle and his wife were taken hostage in 2012 by a the Haqqani network, a Taliban-linked group ,while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. The couple had three children during their five years in captivity.

The family was rescued in 2017 by Pakistani forces, attracting publicity for the dramatic nature of their rescue and the fact they had small children in tow.

Mr Boyle was arrested in December that year and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Ms Coleman plans to testify during the case.

Prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham said Monday she expects Mr Boyle’s lawyers to vigorously challenge the credibility of his spouse as they argue Mr Boyle is innocent of charges he assaulted her.

Mr Boyle was released from jail last June with strict bail conditions, and was ordered to live with his parents in Smiths Falls, Ontario and wear a GPS ankle bracelet that can track his movements.

He married Ms Coleman in 2011 during a lengthy trip the pair took to South America.

The following year, they set off for Russia and travelled through Central Asia for several months, ending up in Afghanistan.

Mr Boyle explained the couple’s decision to have children while in captivity to the Associated Press, saying: "We’re sitting as hostages with a lot of time on our hands. We always wanted as many as possible, and we didn’t want to waste time. Cait’s in her 30s, the clock is ticking."

The family’s dramatic rescue in 2017 made global headlines, and even led to a meeting for the family with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill, about a week before Mr Boyle’s arrest. 

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