Retired school teacher and former junior hockey player billet Neil Joynt, 78, was found not guilty on Tuesday of four historical sexual assault charges in a Napanee court.
Joynt had no public comment after the verdict, but Abergel spoke on his behalf outside the Lennox and Addington County Court House.
“It’s not only the result but the process by which Justice Hurley came to his decision,” Abergel said while snow was falling gently from the sky.
Abergel said he and Joynt were “obviously pleased” with Hurley’s decision.
“It was a very reasoned, very careful and detailed judgment of the evidence, and ultimately not only was Mr. Joynt found not guilty, his honour ultimately found that he couldn’t reject Mr. Joynt’s evidence in and of itself.
“Mr. Joynt has always maintained he did not do this, he never did this and feels vindicated today,” Abergel said.
“This has been going on for seven years and … this will be a very Merry Christmas for Mr. Joynt and his family who have stayed by him.
“Mr. Joynt spent his entire life as a teaching professional helping young people. On top of that, he’s spent 33 years billeting young hockey players and I’ve been bombarded, frankly, with letters of support from former students. That was not relevant at this trial, but I’ve been contacted by many students (to see) if they can help in any way.
“They’ve spent years in Mr. Joynt’s presence, and not only that, he didn’t do anything to them. He was a really positive formative force for them, moulding them into young men and they were shocked by the allegations.
“Mr. Joynt can really never get his reputation back,” Abergel added. “For his family — he has grandchildren and children — and when they now type his name, in our modern age, into Google, he will at least be seen that he was found not guilty of the charges, and I think ultimately that’s what important. It’s not about any consequences about his good name and you can never get your good name back.”
Read Ian MacAlpine’s full story: The Whig