The former Mountie convicted of restraining, sexually abusing and torturing his son made an emotional apology at his sentencing hearing in an Ottawa courtroom today.
"I'm sorry for my cruel and barbaric behaviour," he said, his voice straining at times. "I am sorry for my son's suffering, injury, scars — visible and invisible. I am sorry for his loss. I failed him in every way."
The man wiped his face and paused to collect himself several times as he read his statement. He told the Ontario Superior Court he had tried to commit suicide twice in the four years since he was arrested.
"I've caused so much evil and only God knows how I regret my horrible crimes," said the man, who can't be named due to a publication ban that protects the identify of his son, who is now 14 years old.
In November, the man — who was a Mountie suspended with pay at the time — was found guilty of aggravated assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.
He was fired by the RCMP on Dec. 11, three weeks after being found guilty.
The man's wife, the boy's adoptive mother, was found guilty of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessaries of life, and was given a three-year sentence.
Both faced judge-only trials.
At the sentencing hearing Thursday, Crown attorney Marie Dufort told Justice Robert Maranger the man had not shown remorse for his actions and even had to be reminded by a psychiatrist at one point that the victim was his son.
The man said in his statement that a police officer had told him his son still loves him.
"I wish he would believe me I say: I love you too, son. I'm ashamed and very sorry for having been a monster to you," he said.
"I am grateful and humbled by [your] love for me after all the hell I put you through."
Crown seeks lengthy sentence
Dufort said the severity of the boy's injuries and the prolonged period of years he suffered at the hands of his father should weigh heavily in the sentencing.
It appeared the child's treatment worsened over time, she said, adding that court had heard the man used his position as an RCMP officer to deter intervention when the boy tried to escape and Ottawa police intervened.
"He was hiding behind that veil to continue his pattern of abuses," Dufort said.
The man showed neither fear nor compassion for the boy's condition, she said. Rather than taking the boy to the hospital after he had burned his genitals with a heated BBQ lighter, the man treated the burns himself. When he cut his own hand, the man went to hospital, she said.
Dufort called for the judge to hand down a 12-year sentence for sexual assault causing bodily harm, two years short of the maximum.
She asked for 10 years concurrently for two charges of aggravated assault, and the maximum sentence of 10 years for forcible confinement.
Dufort also called for the maximum sentence of five years for failure to provide the necessaries of life. She said the man and his wife had the financial means and awareness to know they were depriving the boy of food, shelter and social development.
While the proposed sentences total 37 years, Dufort said that when considered in "totality," the sentence should be 23 years.
Defence argues for 5-7 years
Defence lawyer Robert Carew laid out a series of previous cases involving child abuse, sexual assault and forcible confinement where the victims survived. Carew argued case law showed sentences between two and six years.
Carew cited the mandatory minimum sentence for sexual assault causing bodily harm, which is five years, and argued the man should be sentenced to between five and seven years.
He also pointed to the man's loss of both his career and all his assets.
"There's no hope of having that type of law enforcement career again," Carew told the court.
Carew said the Crown's 23-year sentence recommendation falls outside the range of reasonable punishment when a similar forcible confinement case that resulted in a manslaughter charge resulted in a 16-year sentence.
Carew also pointed to testimony from psychiatric experts who concluded the man is at low risk to reoffend and has shown a willingness to engage in treatment for his mental health issues.
The Crown responded that the psychiatric experts also said the man's personality issues were deep-seated and complex, and that he shouldn't be allowed to be with children unsupervised for extended periods of time.
The sentencing is scheduled for April 12.