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Accused serial rapist's trial set to continue more than 9 months after firing lawyers

Richard Mantha, 60, is accused of drugging and raping seven women. Mantha's trial will continue in November after it was derailed when he fired his lawyers. (Richard Mantha/Facebook - image credit)
Richard Mantha, 60, is accused of drugging and raping seven women. Mantha's trial will continue in November after it was derailed when he fired his lawyers. (Richard Mantha/Facebook - image credit)

The trial for a man accused of raping women, most of whom worked in Calgary's sex trade, will continue in November after it was derailed when he fired his lawyers.

Richard Mantha, 60, faces 20 charges involving seven women. The charges include sexual assault with a gun, sexual assault with a knife, kidnapping, forcible confinement and administering noxious substances.

Mantha's trial sat for seven days before he came to court on Jan. 30 and announced he was firing his lawyers.

At that point, Justice Judith Shriar had heard from four women who testified they were sexually assaulted by Mantha.

A fifth was due to take the stand the next morning.

Shriar called the situation "disappointing," and prosecutor Dominique Mathurin expressed concern for "vulnerable witnesses" who were "ready to tell their story."

Defence lawyer Marc Crarer has now been retained by Mantha and the trial is set to continue in November.

Mantha originally requested his trial be conducted in French but has agreed to continue the trial in English.

Mantha is accused of drugging and raping vulnerable women, most of whom, at the time, struggled with addiction and/or were involved in Calgary's sex trade.

One of the women who has already testified told the court she discovered she was sexually assaulted after a friend sent a video clip that she said showed her being raped for three hours and 40 minutes.