James released, now living in Montreal

DEAN PRITCHARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:58 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Graham James has been released from jail and is living in Montreal.

The disgraced former junior hockey coach and scout was quietly released Friday afternoon following an appearance before a justice of the peace.

James was granted bail Dec. 7 but remained in custody pending the approval of several release conditions.

He was convicted in 1997 of sexually assaulting two teenage hockey players, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail.

James is now facing nine new charges of sexual assault involving three minors that allegedly occurred between 1979 and 1994. The alleged victims include former NHLer Theo Fleury.

The Crown opposed James' release.

Details of the bail hearing, including the grounds on which the Crown opposed bail, cannot be printed due to a publication ban.

James was released on 11 conditions, including requirements he give up his passport, live in Montreal at an address disclosed to the Crown and police, that he not leave Canada, and have no contact with his alleged victims. James is also not allowed to be alone with anyone under 18 and is prohibited from possessing any weapons.

James was living and working in Mexico when Winnipeg police issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest in late October. He returned to Canada on Oct. 27 and was taken into custody.

Fleury detailed the sexual assault allegations in his autobiography, Playing With Fire, published last year. Fleury alleges the abuse - beginning when he was 13 - sent him on a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse and years of self-destructive behaviour.

Fleury said Monday he remains disappointed James was granted bail.

"This isn't about me anymore, it's about the system not working," he said. "This is about educating the public, because we're not going to get laws changed but we can change attitudes. If we're looking for resolution from the courts, it ain't going to happen."

- With files from Jason Halstead


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