A Crown attorney has accused Joshua Boyle of dictating strict weight-loss targets for wife Caitlan Coleman after the couple were freed as hostages of Taliban-linked captors.
Prosecutor Jason Neubauer said Wednesday in an Ottawa courtroom that the demands were a way for Boyle, on trial for allegedly assaulting Coleman, to assert his control over her.
Neubauer pointed to a list Boyle apparently prepared that set out weight-loss goals of about 2½ pounds a week — or slightly more than a kilogram — targets the prosecutor said she had to meet or be chastised.
“You simply directed that this be so,” Neubauer said.
Under cross-examination, Boyle said the pair had pestered each other for years to lose weight and the targets were just proposals for negotiation, with no punishment for failing to meet them.
“We had both discussed our weights since at least 2007,” he said.
The answer failed to satisfy Neubauer.
“What right do you have to enter into a negotiation with your wife about how much she should weigh?”
Has pleaded not guilty
Neubauer has tried to paint Boyle as an obsessively controlling husband who struck, choked and bit Coleman when angry.
Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to offences against Coleman, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement in the period of October to December 2017.
The incidents are alleged to have taken place after he and Coleman returned to Canada following five years as prisoners of extremists who seized them in Afghanistan during a 2012 backpacking trip through central Asia.
The couple and their three children born in captivity settled in Ottawa after being freed. Boyle has testified, however, that he had already decided to leave his wife, describing her as violent and prone to fits.
Boyle was arrested in the early hours of Dec. 31, 2017, after his wife fled their apartment and told police he had assaulted her numerous times.
Coleman, who testified earlier in the trial, has accused Boyle of drafting a list of rules spelling out how she must behave. Boyle has characterized the list as draft suggestions for Coleman to keep in mind, as the two had agreed to prepare New Year’s resolutions.
‘Tangible’ way to assert control
Neubauer questioned why Boyle would care about Coleman’s weight loss if he were pursuing a divorce.
“This presented you with a tangible, subjective way to assert your control over her,” he said.
Boyle said he didn’t much care about Coleman’s weight, noting neither of them had expectations they would actually shed pounds after a decade of nagging one another.
Coleman has said Boyle’s list of demands included an edict she make him ejaculate twice a day, seven days a week, or face “chastising,” his word for spanking.
Boyle has disputed the suggestion. “I preferred masturbation to satisfy my sexual urges at that time,” Boyle said Wednesday, adding that meant he did not have to worry about Coleman becoming pregnant again.
Neubauer said Boyle generally expected Coleman to be obedient in the fall of 2017 and became frustrated with her unwillingness to follow his demands.
On the contrary, Boyle said: he was put off because he would oblige Coleman’s requests, and any demands he made of her were treated like an “act of war.”
Cross-examination of Boyle is expected to conclude Thursday.