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Judges reserve Hood decision on appeal of sex charges

A panel of judges on Tuesday reserved their decisions in the appeals of Pictou County school teacher Amy Hood's conviction and sentencing on charges of sexual exploitation, sexual interference and child luring.

Hood has admitted to exchanging sexually explicit texts with two teenage boys and to performing oral sex on one of them.

She was found guilty in April 2016. In December, Judge Del Atwood gave Hood a 15-month conditional sentence that included house arrest and probation.

He cited her bipolar disorder at the time of the 2013 incidents as a factor, saying the federal mandatory minimum of a year in jail was cruel and unusual punishment.

The Crown appealed earlier this year and asked for a two-year jail sentence, saying the judge should not have rejected the mandatory minimum.

Meanwhile, Hood's defence lawyer Joel Pink cross-appealed, alleging errors in the trial judge's original conviction.

In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Pink said he argued the trial judge erred in discussing the fact that the accused did not testify, despite the right to remain silent.

He also disputed Atwood's interpretation of expert evidence on the defence's contention that the accused was not criminally responsible for her actions at the time.

Pink also countered the Crown's appeal on sentencing, saying the one-year mandatory minimum was unconstitutional.

Pink said the appeals took up a full day in court.

Hood remains free while awaiting the decisions.

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