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By Sabrina Carinci
Even with the start of a new year, the fate of first-year Western student and Mustang wide receiver Preston Haynes still remains in the hands of London courts.
Haynes, a Western football player who was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, for allegedly hitting a first-year engineering student before the Homecoming game on Oct. 2, appeared in court yesterday morning to set a trial date.
"A trial's been set for May 3. They've set aside a week a week should be enough," said Murray Neilson, Haynes' lawyer. Neilson added the trial may not necessarily last a full week and the timing depends upon the cross-examination of the witnesses.
"I'm just anxious to get things over with for two reasons so that all the issues can be resolved and everyone knows what happened and so I can play football," Haynes said.
Haynes, who hasn't played for the Mustangs since the Oct. 17 game against the University of Toronto when he was indefinitely suspended by university administration, said he was slightly disappointed with the timing of the trial because he is hoping to prepare for the next football season.
"I was hoping things would be underway before school was over. Hopefully the university will let me practice," he said.
Because of Haynes' suspension, Mustang head coach Larry Haylor said he was unsure if Haynes would be allowed to participate in the spring football training camp which begins after final exams, from April 29 to May 2.
"We'd need to sit down and talk about it," Haylor said. "This is a difficult case. It hasn't changed the emotions or circumstances involved."
Darwin Semotiuk, chair of intercollegiate athletics and one of those who decided to pull Haynes from the football field, said he too was unsure if Haynes would be allowed to train in the camp. "I'm sure that most people want this resolved, [but] the position is quite clear. He is under suspension."
Peter Mercer, VP-administration at Western, said he was not aware a court date had been set nor that the timing of it and the training camp were so close together. "The decision for Preston Haynes to step down was a joint one," he said, adding the decision to allow him to practice would also have to be a joint one between Semotiuk and Mercer.
"Obviously it would be better if [Haynes] was doing the things he likes doing," said Ian Monroe, the first-year engineering student who broke his leg in the Oct. 2 incident.
Monroe, who holds no grudges, said his leg is fine, although he requires surgery to remove half an inch of bone which has begun to protrude outward.