4th sexual assault gets Island man 16 months in jail

·3 min read
 A man was sentenced at the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island on Thursday for what the judge called 'a very serious sexual assault.' (CBC - image credit)
A man was sentenced at the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island on Thursday for what the judge called 'a very serious sexual assault.' (CBC - image credit)

A P.E.I. man has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for his fourth conviction on sexual assault charges.

The man, now in his 20s, committed the crime while still a teenager. He was sentenced as a young offender, for what the judge called a "very serious sexual assault."

Chief Justice Tracey Clements handed down the man's sentence by video and teleconference Thursday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown.

"I'm very concerned with his actions and criminal record since he committed this act," she said. "It's hard to imagine his prospects for rehabilitation are positive."

The court was told the man's criminal record included three other convictions for sexual assault.

He was in jail for a breach of undertaking while this latest matter was before the courts because he had approached his victim at her workplace, in violation of a court order to stay away.

Therapist suggests man at high risk to re-offend

Crown prosecutor Jeff MacDonald had wanted the man sentenced as an adult, citing the seriousness of the sexual assault, the harm done to the victim and the man's criminal record.

But following a hearing last fall, the judge decided to sentence the man as a youth, under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As a result, his name cannot be published.

Earlier, the court had heard expert testimony from a sexual deviancy and treatment therapist. She testified the man is at a high level of risk to re-offend, and poses concerns for public safety.

She said the man requires high-intensity treatment of a kind available only in federal prisons from Correctional Services Canada staff.

However, defence lawyer Conor Mullin had recommended the man be kept out of jail. He questioned the methods and reliability of the sexual deviancy assessment, and told the court the man has had psychological counselling.

Victim has struggled

The man did not speak at the sentencing hearing Thursday, but at a previous appearance, he cited alcohol and drug addictions as contributing to his behaviour, according to Justice Clements.

Court also heard he claimed to have been fired from a job he once held because customers recognized him as a convicted sex offender.

In handing down the sentence, Clements cited harm done to the victim as an aggravating factor. The woman told the court she has struggled with anxiety and PTSD after she was sexually assaulted.

She felt isolated, judged, angry, dehumanized and ashamed... This incident cannot be erased from her life. - Justice Tracey Clements, speaking about victim

"She felt isolated, judged, angry, dehumanized and ashamed," said Clements, quoting from a written statement the woman provided to the court.

"This incident cannot be erased from her life."

Because the man is now in his 20s, he will serve his 16-month jail sentence in the Provincial Correctional Centre in Charlottetown, rather than the youth centre in Summerside. After release, he will be under community supervision by justice officials for eight months.

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