Sen­tence up­held for mo­lester

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Cit­i­zen staff

A man found guilty of mo­lest­ing a young girl will have to serve his sen­tence in jail af­ter the B.C. Court of Ap­peal dis­missed an ap­pli­ca­tion to have it served as a con­di­tional sen­tence or­der.

The ap­peal by Michael Scott Hor­swill was dis­missed Fri­day, about 1 1/2 months af­ter the Supreme Court of Canada de­nied his ap­pli­ca­tion to have the ver­dict over­turned.

In Jan­uary 2016, fol­low­ing a five-day trial, Hor­swill was found guilty of mo­lest­ing the four-yearold daugh­ter of a fam­ily friend in July 2013 while they were stay­ing overnight at a cabin near Prince Ge­orge.

In the process of sen­tenc­ing Hor­swill, the judge was asked to ig­nore the manda­tory min­i­mum of at least one year in jail.

In Novem­ber 2016, an On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice struck down the manda­tory min­i­mum for a man con­victed of the same of­fence and sen­tenced him to seven months in jail fol­lowed by two years pro­ba­tion.

But in De­cem­ber 2016, B.C. Supreme Court Jus­tice James Wil­liams re­jected Hor­swill’s ap­pli­ca­tion and a month later sen­tenced him to 14 months in jail fol­lowed by 30 months pro­ba­tion.

His name was also added to the na­tional sex of­fender reg­istry for 20 years.

In the most re­cent de­ci­sion, the Court of Ap­peal agreed with Hor­swill’s coun­sel’s ar­gu­ment that Wil­liams erred in his con­clu­sion that the manda­tory min­i­mum im­posed by the Crim­i­nal Code was con­sti­tu­tional.

But the Court of Ap­peal none­the­less found he did not err in con­clud­ing on the facts of the case that a con­di­tional sen­tence or­der was not ap­pro­pri­ate.

Had Hor­swill won the ap­peal, he would have been able to serve the sen­tence in the com­mu­nity where he could con­tinue to live at home and go to work but re­main sub­ject to var­i­ous re­stric­tions, in­clud­ing a cur­few.

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