Ap­peal judges find no er­ror with North­ern Penin­sula man’s con­vic­tion or sen­tence

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - DIANE CROCKER THE WESTER STAR

COR­NER BROOK, N.L. – A North­ern Penin­sula man con­victed of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a young girl over a pe­riod of four years has had his ap­peal of that con­vic­tion and the six-year sen­tence he re­ceived dis­missed.

The man can­not be iden­ti­fied due to a pub­li­ca­tion ban put in place by the pro­vin­cial court in Cor­ner Brook to pro­tect the iden­tity of his vic­tim. He was con­victed in pro­vin­cial court in April 2017 and sen­tenced in May 2017.

He later filed his ap­peal and sought bail pend­ing the out­come of his ap­peal. How­ever, bail was de­nied in De­cem­ber 2017.

The man was con­victed on two counts of sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence, one count of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion, four counts of sex­ual as­sault, and one breach of pro­ba­tion. He was ac­quit­ted on one count of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

The in­ci­dents that led to his con­vic­tion spanned a time pe­riod from 2012 to 2016 and oc­curred at three dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions — the family cabin, the family home and a cam­per trailer.

The girl was be­tween the ages of 11 and 16 when the in­ci­dents oc­curred. An in­ci­dent at a cam­per trailer on June 5, 2016 led to the man be­ing charged.

Dur­ing his trial, the court heard the man en­tered the cam­per while the girl was sleep­ing and sex­u­ally as­saulted her. He was seen by two wit­nesses sit­ting on the bed the girl was sleep­ing in with his pants down around his an­kles. In his ap­peal, the man sub­mit­ted that the trial judge erred in ap­ply­ing the law re­lat­ing to cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence, in un­evenly scru­ti­niz­ing the ev­i­dence, in fail­ing to ap­ply the law by shift­ing the bur­den of proof to the man, in mis­ap­pre­hend­ing ev­i­dence and in im­pos­ing an un­fit sen­tence.

A panel of three judges with the New­found­land and Labrador Court of Ap­peal heard the ap­peal on March 6 and ren­dered its de­ci­sion on June 5. They con­cluded that the trial judge did not err in his anal­y­sis or con­clu­sion re­gard­ing the con­vic­tions or the six-year sen­tence.

The panel noted it would al­low the ap­peal in re­la­tion to Fe­bru­ary 2015 of­fences by re­duc­ing the sen­tence for those of­fences from three years to one year. How­ever, as that sen­tence is to be served con­cur­rently with the sen­tences for the other of­fences, the panel said it would af­firm the over­all six-year sen­tence that was im­posed.

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