ANTIGONISH: A man awaiting sentencing on a sexual assault conviction has died.

William Roger MacLellan, who was convicted of sexual assault last year, passed away on April 5, the day before he was set to receive sentencing.

Crown attorney Thomas Kayter said MacLellan obviously can’t be sentenced. Ordinarily, said Kayter, the Crown would order a stay of proceedings but because MacLellan filed a notice of appeal, the appeal could proceed posthumously.

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“His defense council is considering that option now,” said Kayter. “We agreed not to stay the proceedings until they decide whether they’ll pursue the appeal or not. If they want to pursue the appeal, we won’t enter a stay of proceedings until [the appeal] runs its course. If they abandon the appeal, we will enter a stay of proceedings.”

Kayter said court date is scheduled to determine the status of the appeal at the Antigonish Justice Centre on November 2.

Antigonish Provincial Court Judge Laurie Halfpenny-MacQuarrie found MacLellan guilty of sexual assault on November 4. The judge heard final arguments on the case in Truro Provincial Court on August 30. On January 19, 2016, the prosecution decided to no longer pursue one of the two sexual assault charges MacLellan previously faced.