Some victims to attend Smith sentencing

Diane
Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK — George Ansel Smith will come face-to-face with some of his victims when the Roman Catholic priest appears for sentencing on 42 sex offences in Supreme Court in Corner Brook on Feb. 27 and 28.

Outside the court on Friday, Crown attorney Trina Simms said at least five of Smith’s 13 victims have indicated they will attend the sentencing hearing. She said it’s not known if the men will read victim impact statements in court.

Smith, 74, was originally arrested on Dec. 14, 2011 and released from custody. But more charges were laid against him and on Feb. 23, 2012, and he consented to being held in custody pending the outcome.

Smith had been charged with 72 sex offences against young boys between 1969 and 1989. The offences occurred in several western Newfoundland communities and elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, and include counts of gross indecency, indecent assault and unlawful assault with intent to commit an indictable offence. Thirty of the charges have since been withdrawn by the Crown, pending conviction on the others.

Smith’s case was called before Justice William Goodridge Friday for an update on the statement of facts being prepared by the Crown.

Simms told the judge that it’s taken hours and hours to go through the audio and video evidence in the case and that her office has submitted its final copy to Smith’s defence lawyer, Tom Williams.

Williams, who appeared on Smith’s behalf via telephone, said he was reviewing the Crown’s document and expected to reply to it later in the day.

The plan is for the Crown and Williams to enter an agreed statement of facts at the sentencing hearing.

Goodridge set the matter over to Feb. 20 when he asked both lawyers to appear and confirm that an agreed statement is ready. He asked that signed copies of the agreement be filed with the court and an electronic copy sent to his assistant. Goodridge said having the information by Feb. 20 would give him ample time to review it before the sentencing hearing.

Goodridge also took the opportunity to inform the court that he and Williams are cousins and asked both lawyers if they had any objections to him continuing to hear the case. Simms and Williams both said they had no issue with it.

There is a publication ban in place to protect the identity of Smith’s victims.

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Atlantic Canada

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