For committing a major sexual assault, a 34-year-old man from the Beaufort-Delta region has been sentenced to 30 months behind bars, although he only has 14 months left to serve.
Crown and defence lawyers agreed that 30 months imprisonment would be appropriate for the man’s crimes. After deducting the year and four months of credit accrued for pre-trial custody, the man has a remaining year and two months left on his sentence.
On Nov. 8, 2019, the victim was drinking with family members, the offender among them as he was dating the victim’s sister at the time.
Once everyone else had “passed out,” the court heard that the offender invited the woman back to his house to continue drinking. When they arrived, he began to undress her. The woman asked what he was doing and reminded him of his relationship with her sister.
In response, he pushed her to the ground, held his forearm across her neck and committed the sexual assault while she cried for help and yelled for him to stop.
She later reported the assault to the RCMP. The man’s DNA was found on her vaginal swab.
The offender has three prior assaults on his criminal record, including a sexual assault on the same victim from 2018.
While Justice Shannon Smallwood said she did not know the circumstances of the earlier offence, she noted that the sentence of 60 days in jail indicates that it was less serious than the matter at hand. However, she found it to be further aggravating that the man’s violence against the same victim has escalated.
Smallwood acknowledged the impact on the victim and her family.
In her victim impact statement, the woman wrote that the offender “took a part of (her) life away.”
The court imposed a publication ban that prohibits the disclosure of any details that could identify the victim.
Smallwood noted the man’s guilty plea as a positive step, as it demonstrates responsibility for his actions, saves the court resources of a trial and prevents the victim from having to testify.
She also noted the Gladue factors at play, including the man’s mother and grandmother being residential school survivors and the exposure the man had to alcohol and domestic violence from a young age.
A pre-sentence report suggested the possibility that the offender suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, though he has never been tested. The report also described the man’s relationship with the land and his Inuvialuit background.
Smallwood said she would accept the sentencing recommendation from the lawyers as “I cannot say that it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or that it is contrary to public interest.”
Once released from custody, the offender is prohibited from possession or use of firearms for 10 years, with an exception for sustenance hunting, given his involvement with traditional activities. He will also be placed on the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) for life.