Bell Is­land man sen­tenced to time served on sex­ual as­sault charge

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY TARA BRAD­BURY tara.brad­bury@thetele­ Twit­ter: @tara_brad­bury

A Bell Is­land man who asked the court for le­niency on a sex­ual as­sault charge got it Tues­day.

Ray­mond Ron­ald Barnes, 24, was sen­tenced in provin­cial court in St. John’s to one year time served in con­nec­tion with the sex­ual re­la­tion­ship he had with an un­der­age girl that re­sulted in the birth of their daugh­ter.

Judge Lori Mar­shall cited plenty of case law in bring­ing down her de­ci­sion Tues­day af­ter­noon, not­ing a 12 month sen­tence is within the range of ac­cept­abil­ity for the sex­ual as­sault of a per­son un­der 16 ac­cord­ing to the Crim­i­nal Code, and is “not light for a first-time of­fender.”

Barnes was 20 when he be­gan a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a 14-year-old girl. She gave birth to a daugh­ter when she was 16.

Mar­shall noted in giv­ing the sen­tence that the girl was a will­ing par­tic­i­pant in the re­la­tion­ship, there was no indi­ca­tion she was groomed or lured, both sets of par­ents were aware of the re­la­tion­ship, and there was noth­ing to sug­gest Barnes was only out for his own sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion. She also stressed that she was not con­don­ing the par­ents’ tol­er­ance of the re­la­tion­ship.

The girl, who was in the court­room Tues­day, is now over the age of con­sent.

“It is ev­i­dent Mr. Barnes has lim­ited in­sight into the se­ri­ous crime he com­mit­ted when he com­menced a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with (the girl),” Mar­shall said. “In this case, nei­ther (the girl) nor her par­ents re­ported it to po­lice and there is no ev­i­dence she or her par­ents wished charges to be laid.”

By law, a per­son un­der the age of 16 can­not give con­sent to a per­son more than four years older than they are. If the sex­ual ac­tiv­ity in­cludes el­e­ments such as anal sex, pay­ment or pornog­ra­phy, or in­volves a per­son in a po­si­tion of trust or au­thor­ity, the age of con­sent is 18 years. All sex­ual ac­tiv­ity with­out con­sent is un­law­ful.

Sex­ual ac­tiv­ity with a per­son un­der 16 years of age can carry a prison sen­tence of 14 years.

Barnes had not had any con­tact with the teenager since he was banned from do­ing so when he was charged, Mar­shall said, though he has main­tained vis­i­ta­tion with his daugh­ter. The baby’s mother wrote a letter to the court, which was read Tues­day, ask­ing for the no-con­tact or­der to be lifted in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate co-par­ent­ing.

Barnes did earn an­other sen­tence: Mar­shall gave him 14 months’ house ar­rest for other un­re­lated charges from the sum­mer of 2015, re­lat­ing to the theft and burn­ing of an ATV, the theft of a car, mak­ing threats to po­lice and breach­ing court or­ders.

Mar­shall noted Barnes, who had been abus­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs and crack co­caine at the time of the of­fences, had been sober since the birth of his daugh­ter last year and had com­pleted drug abuse treat­ment pro­grams while in cus­tody and out on bail.

Mar­shall also handed Barnes six months’ pro­ba­tion, a 10-year weapons ban, and a list­ing on the sex of­fender reg­istry for 20 years.

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