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There has been a surprising development in the Sofyan Boalag case. On Thursday morning he stood in court and informed the judge that he intends to appeal his conviction for three sexual assaults.

In August of 2016, Boalag was found guilty of sexually assaulting two women and a girl in St. John’s in the late summer and fall of 2012. Before sentencing, the Crown began taking steps to have Boalag, who turned 40 on Wednesday, declared a dangerous offender.

That designation is reserved for the most dangerous and violent sexual predators in the country. The designation, if successfully applied, would allow the court to impose an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment with no chance of parole for seven years, as well as a long-term supervision order for up to 10 years after his release.

That hearing is expected to take three weeks and was expected to be scheduled Thursday morning. But Boalag’s surprising announcement puts into question his relationship with his lawyer, Jeff Brace, who won’t represent him during an appeal. Brace told the court he doesn’t know if Boalag has dismissed him, but says Boalag will need time to consult with another lawyer before proceeding. The case will be back in court next week.

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