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Caitlan Coleman leaves court in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA -- Joshua Boyle might seem arrogant and hard to like, but he tells the truth even when it is not to his advantage, the former hostage's lawyer insisted Monday.

Lawrence Greenspon began closing arguments at Boyle's assault trial by acknowledging his client is an unconventional thinker who does little to hide his keen intelligence.

"So he comes off as arrogant," Greenspon said. "He is not easy to like."

The experienced lawyer proceeded to point out instances during the criminal trial when Boyle refused to give a pat answer to the prosecution's questions, even though it would have helped his case.

Boyle, 36, has pleaded not guilty to offences against wife Caitlan Coleman, including assault, sexual assault, uttering threats and unlawful confinement in the period of October to December 2017.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place after the couple returned to Canada following five years as hostages at the hands of extremists who seized them in Afghanistan. Upon release, the couple settled into an Ottawa apartment with the three children Coleman had in captivity.

Greenspon said reasonable doubt about Boyle's guilt amounts to a defence against all of the charges.

He urged Judge Peter Doody not to believe Coleman's allegations, characterizing her testimony as the fuzzy recollections of an unstable woman with serious anger-management issues.

"Ms. Coleman's evidence is neither credible nor reliable," Greenspon said.

He noted she had told the court of becoming uncontrollably angry at times and how her anxiety attacks could leave her babbling incoherently, crying and hyperventilating. Coleman has also said memories can be invented and inserted into narratives of past events.

Boyle was more reticent in court about Coleman's mental-health issues than she herself, providing an "illuminating glimpse" into the fairness of his testimony, Greenspon suggested.

Coleman has testified her now-estranged husband spanked, punched and slapped her during their overseas captivity. She said his violent ways resumed shortly after they were freed by Pakistani forces.

Boyle has said being held hostage in trying conditions did nothing to help Coleman's already shaky mental state. She would shout, scream and bang her head against the wall, he testified.

Boyle denies routinely striking his wife during their imprisonment. Greenspon highlighted the fact he did admit hitting her once in captivity, but only to knock a bottle of pills out of her hand, and that it troubled Boyle greatly because it was the first time he had done so.

It is one of many sharply differing accounts that have emerged during the trial.

Earlier Monday, during re-examination of witnesses, Coleman denied she had tried to use Boyle as a bargaining chip to get chocolate while the pair were captive.

Testifying via video link from the United States, Coleman said there was no truth to Boyle's claim she attempted to get the treat in exchange for his participation in a mock execution by their Taliban-affiliated captors.

Coleman also said she had hoped the couple would be denied permission to enter Afghanistan, contradicting Boyle's testimony they were both keen to visit the strife-torn country.

Greenspon is expected to wrap up his remarks Tuesday, allowing the Crown to begin concluding arguments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2019.