A Cree medicine man accused of sexual assault will have his guilty pleas removed from the record and will have his matter go to trial.
Cecil Wolfe is facing 12 counts of sexual assault for allegedly abusing women while acting as a traditional healer over a ten year period in areas around Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Saskatoon.
Last year, Wolfe entered guilty pleas to those charges, seemingly agreeing to a joint submission for a 9 and a half year prison sentence.
However, since that time Wolfe changed lawyers and sought to have those pleas removed.
An expungement hearing took place in August where lawyers argued whether Wolfe should have his pleas removed from the record.
On Tuesday afternoon, Saskatchewan Justice Sanjeed Anand granted Wolfe’s request saying Wolfe’s former lawyer did not adequately inform him of his legal rights and the consequences he was facing if he pleaded guilty.
The concerns outlined by Anand included an over-estimation of the sentence Wolfe could receive by his original lawyer, Wolfe being unaware he would have to register as a sex offender and face other ongoing legal consequences, Wolfe being unaware of his right to trial by jury or judge, and that Wolfe did not understand that he could plead guilty to some of the charges rather than all of them.
Therefore, Judge Anand asserted the guilty pleas that Cecil Wolfe entered were uninformed and should be expunged from the record.
With the guilty pleas officially removed from the record, a trial will be scheduled in the coming weeks.