Man gets jail time for 'low-end' sexual assault

Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  A Northern Peninsula man has been sent to jail for sexually assaulting his estranged wife during the holiday season of 2012.

In provincial court in Corner Brook Monday, the 50-year-old, with no prior criminal record, was sentenced to 60 days in prison. Judge Catherine Allen-Westby permitted him to serve the time intermittently to allow him to continue working.

The facts and sentencing hearing got off to a somewhat unusual start when Crown attorney Adam Sparkes took issue with a statement the offender made in a pre-sentence report.

He told the probation officer he had pled guilty just to get the matter over with and denied the sexual assault and mischief that he was charged with. Sparkes said it is a serious offence and cannot sentence a man who has pleaded guilty yet denies the offence.

Provincial court Judge Catherine Allen-Westby agreed.

Defence lawyer Donald Rankin said his client did not want to publicly acknowledge guilt and it is within his right not to show remorse. He said his client still admits guilt to the charge.

After the judge addressed the client, the hearing proceeded.

In reading the facts, the Crown attorney said the estranged couple had spent time together on Christmas Day, which included a drive together that at one point involved her flashing her breasts to him.

Two days later, however, things soured and they argued. What appears to be a scuffle ensued, and both ended up on the floor. He pulled off her shirt, exposed her breasts, felt and kissed them. She told him to stop, which he did, and he got up and left. She then called police.

The man later admitted his actions to police.

During another encounter, he breached a no contact order involving his estranged wife. He also kicked her car door, causing $400 worth of damage.

When he was asked if he accepted the facts, the man said to a certain extent. He asked to speak. Allen-Westby warned him that his lawyer was here to do that for him. He responded by saying he would “take guilt to it.”

During sentencing submissions, Sparkes acknowledged the sexual assault was on the lower end, but that it was still a serious offence. He said the victim was not seriously impacted and that it did not significantly impact other family members.

The Crown attorney said public deterrence is still high. He asked for a jail sentence between two and five months, a year of probation and the mandatory DNA, sex offender registry, and firearm prohibition orders.

Meanwhile, Rankin — who was perturbed the Crown even asked for jail time — argued the circumstances should not warrant imprisonment of any kind. He said there was no violence or premeditation and the assault was of short duration.

He suggested a conviction, probation and a fine was sufficient.

Allen-Westby did not agree. The judge acknowledged the mitigating factors, but said it is important the court sends a clear message of deterrence.

The man will not have to serve six days of the 60 due to credit for time served in pre-sentence custody. He will be permitted to serve the jail time when he is not working.

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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