Lawyer representing Toronto councillor Michael Thompson in sex assault case steps aside
Posted September 29, 2022 6:09 pm.
Last Updated October 4, 2022 5:51 pm.
Calvin Barry says he will no longer be representing Scarborough Centre city councillor Michael Thompson, who is facing two counts of sexual assault stemming from alleged incidents this year in Bracebridge.
Barry tells CityNews his decision stems from his close friendship with Thompson, adding that “experienced counsel” will be taking over the case.
On Thursday, Barry confirmed the charges are “on the lower end of the spectrum” and that Thompson will be “vigorously defending these baseless allegations.”
Thompson’s accusers are said to be two adult women.
Ontario provincial police confirmed the charges, saying a report was filed earlier this month alleging sexual assaults had occurred at a residence in Muskoka sometime this year.
Barry tells CityNews the alleged incident happened in July during the Canada Day long weekend.
“We are hoping to provide some information to the police reciprocal, to cast doubt on the legitimacy on probable grounds that police had to lay these two counts of sexual assault,” Barry said without disclosing precise details of the allegations.
Thompson has a November 1 court date in Bracebridge.
“He hopes for an exoneration soon as this matter winds its way through the Bracebridge, Ontario court of justice,” Barry told CityNews.
The 62-year-old is a longtime Toronto politician and sits on numerous committees and boards. He’s the chair of the economic and community development committee, is a member of Mayor John Tory’s executive committee and is one of Tory’s ceremonial deputy mayors.
Mayor Tory said he would not comment on the matter as it is before the courts but did confirm that Thompson will not serve as deputy mayor or chair any council committees as he fights the charges.
A spokesperson for Centennial College tells CityNews Thompson has resigned as a Board member at the school, noting it would not be appropriate for him to continue serving while he faces the charges.
Thompson is seeking re-election in the upcoming municipal election. It’s not clear if his legal issues will affect that.
Thompson has yet to respond to several requests for comment from CityNews.
With files from Lucas Casaletto and Mark McAllister