Joshua Boyle revealed his criminal state of mind when he wrote that “a husband has some minor right to force sex of his choosing on a wife,” a Crown attorney has charged.
In his closing argument Wednesday, Crown attorney Jason Neubauer said the statement — made in a letter from Boyle to his wife — reflected his belief that he could have sex with Caitlan Coleman without her consent.
“It reveals his state of mind, his belief that he had the right to force sex of his choosing on his wife,” Neubauer argued.
In his testimony, Boyle said the statement in the letter was made in the context of the couple’s BDSM relationship, not as a general principle.
The letter has not been entered as an exhibit at the trial.
Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to all 19 charges he faces, including two counts of sexual assault with a weapon.
In both of those incidents, Neubauer charged, Boyle was not deterred by Coleman’s lack of consent.
Neubauer also told court Wednesday that it’s the prosecution’s theory that Boyle never intended to divorce Coleman but told that story as part of a broader, false narrative. The couple’s time in Ottawa, following their rescue from captivity in October 2017, was marked by Boyle’s increased domination of Coleman, he said.
In his testimony, Boyle said he announced his intention to divorce Coleman one year into their five years of captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Coleman has said that Boyle sometimes talked about seeking a divorce, but also spoke about taking other wives.
Neubauer argued that Boyle had no intention of leaving Coleman since the relationship served his own “selfish purposes.” “His conduct showed an escalation, an assertion of control over her, a subjugation of her, not a distancing from her. It was not Stage One of a separation, not at all. “
Neubauer pointed to what has become known as “the list” to buttress his argument.
Coleman testified that the list represented a set of written rules that Boyle imposed on her in December 2017; it required her to take cold showers, exercise, lose weight, sleep in the nude, plan interesting sex, and ensure he ejaculated at least 14 times a week.
In his testimony, Boyle said the list represented only draft suggestions that were prepared as New Year’s resolutions and never acted upon.
Neubauer argued Boyle’s testimony was “plainly unbelievable” given that 12 instructions on the list included the word “must.”
“These aren’t draft suggestions. These are directions. These are rules,” Neubauer told court.
What’s more, Neubauer said, it defies reason that Boyle would write such a list — it included an ambitious schedule for his wife’s weight loss — when he was committed to divorcing Coleman.
“If his evidence is true, that he was checking out of that marriage, why would he be so interested in Ms. Coleman losing weight at all? Let alone on a schedule or on a schedule of his choosing? That doesn’t make sense.”
What makes sense, he said, is that the weight loss schedule was a tangible way for Boyle to continue to exert control over Coleman and her body. “It provides him a yardstick with which to mete out punishment,” Neubauer said.
Coleman testified that she was spanked painfully with a broom handle for failing to meet Boyle’s required number of weekly ejaculations.
In his testimony, Boyle said he reluctantly gave Coleman “a few half-hearted swats” on the buttocks after she asked to be spanked for mistreating their children.
Neubauer said Boyle’s story is fiction, while Coleman’s evidence “is credible, and does demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Boyle struck her with a broom as a means of punishing her for failing to live up to a code that he established in their relationship.”
Closing arguments in the trial are to conclude Thursday.