Four years for sex­ual as­sault

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - FRONT PAGE - ALAN S. HALE

A for­mer Corn­wall man who had been liv­ing in Vancouver won’t be re­turn­ing to the west coast for at least a few years.

On Fri­day he was sen­tenced to four years in prison for trap­ping a woman on an island with him and then forc­ing her to sub­mit to sex by threat­ing to kill her if she re­fused. That sen­tence was for the sex­ual as­sault; he was also sen­tenced to six months to be served con­cur­rently for the death threats.

The de­fen­dant, who can­not be named due to a court-im­posed pub­li­ca­tion ban, sat with a grim stone-faced ex­pres­sion as Jus­tice Lau­rie La­celle read her de­ci­sion. De­fi­ant to the end, he at­tempted to in­ter­rupt the judge twice, once to com­plain about the Stan­dard Free holder’ s pres­ence in the court­room and again to de­mand to know why a per­son who had “con­fessed it was a setup” had not been called as a wit­ness.

He was shushed by his lawyer and ig­nored by La­celle.

The four-year sen­tence he re­ceived was ex­actly what the Crown had asked for, while the de­fence had asked for the manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tence of two years. Jus­tice La­celle, mean­while noted that the range of sen­tences in sim­i­lar cases is three to five years.

La­celle opted to go with what she de­scribed as a “mid­dle-range sen­tence” of four years.

“This sen­tence rec­og­nizes the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive po­ten­tial of (the de­fen­dant,)” she ruled.

The judge said the char­ac­ter wit­nesses and ar­gu­ments pre­sented by the de­fence on Wed­nes­day had con­vinced her the de­fen­dant is a man of faith who has con­trib­uted to his com­mu­nity is pos­i­tive ways while over­com­ing an al­co­hol ad­dic­tion, and likely has the po­ten­tial for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

But she said that be­cause his friends and fel­low parish­ioners made him out to be a pi­ous and gen­er­ous man doesn’t mean he wasn’t ca­pa­ble of what he was con­victed of.

“While they be­lieve that this con­vic­tion is out of char­ac­ter for him, most sex­ual as­saults are done pri­vately, away from the view of oth­ers,” she said.

There were also ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors that caused the judge to re­ject the de­fence’s re­quest for a two-year sen­tence. The first be­ing that he had iso­lated his victim on an island with him to bet­ter con­trol her and cut off any route for es­cape from the sit­u­a­tion.

While he might not have had a po­si­tion of trust over the victim, said La­celle, the pair’s com­pli­cated his­tory with each other and her agree­ment to go for a boat ride with him to try to mend that re­la­tion­ship at least put him in a po­si­tion of con­fi­dence with her.

The de­fen­dant’s 17 prior con­vic­tions, in­clud­ing an­other sex­ual as­sault in 1980, was also a fac­tor in her de­ci­sion. ahale@post­media.com twit­ter.com/alan_S_hale

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