BRIDGEWATER, N.S. -- Bad weather in Nova Scotia has delayed a court appearance by a man accused of sexually assaulting and confining a 16-year-old boy until next year.

David James Leblanc was scheduled to appear in Bridgewater provincial court Wednesday to set dates for a preliminary hearing.

But defence lawyer Mike Taylor was unable to attend the hearing because of difficult driving conditions.

Leblanc, 47, faces seven charges, including sexual assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and kidnapping.

The case has been adjourned until Jan. 16.

The RCMP launched an investigation in September after a woman in rural Upper Chelsea reported that a frightened boy showed up at her doorstep seeking help.

The woman told police the boy was barefoot and chained at his wrists and ankles.

Leblanc was arrested Sept. 30 in northern Ontario.

A second man, John Leonard MacKean, 63, of Halifax, was also charged in the case.

He is facing charges of sexual assault and communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18.

After they launched their investigation in September, police were also looking for 31-year-old Wayne Alan Cunningham.

His body was found near the area where Leblanc was arrested. Foul play was not suspected in his death.