Dangerous offender hearing begins for Sem Paul Obed

·2 min read
Sem Paul Obed is shown at a court appearance in 2018.
Sem Paul Obed is shown at a court appearance in 2018.

(CBC - image credit)

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing opened Tuesday in Halifax for a man who pleaded guilty to a violent sexual assault in June, 2018.

The Crown is seeking to have Sem Paul Obed declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely.

According to information provided at the hearing where Obed entered his plea, the victim was sleeping when he appeared in her bedroom. He was dressed only in a ball cap and basketball shoes.

The woman attempted to fight him off but he overpowered her.

During that time, Obed punched the victim multiple times and dragged her to various rooms by her hair.

Victim had 22 wounds

When he left, he told the victim she could call him, and said: "If you call the cops, I'm going to find you."

The victim suffered 22 wounds.

When police arrested Obed that afternoon, the victim's blood was still on his face.

Obed has more than 30 prior convictions, many of them for violent offences. When he was released from prison in 2014 after serving a previous sentence, police warned people in the Halifax area that he was a high risk to reoffend.

The first witness to testify at the dangerous offender hearing was Dr. Grainne Neilson, a forensic psychiatrist at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth.

Lengthy list

She interviewed Obed and prepared a report for the court. The Crown took her through a lengthy list of charges she looked into as part of her analysis.

In her testimony, Neilson said Obed acknowledged the offences but appeared passive and attributed some of the offences to his heavy alcohol consumption. However, she said Obed also admitted that alcohol wasn't always a factor.

"When somebody does an offence of this nature when they're stone-cold sober, it is more concerning." Nelson said.

She described Obed as a mixed offender, meaning his victims were both men and women and ranged in age from five to 70.

"The circumstances are very diverse," she said. "It makes it difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy who's going to be the next victim."

Neilson said Obed wouldn't quite meet the definition of a psychopath, but did have antisocial tendencies and several high-risk factors.

First offences date back years

The first offences date back to when Obed was a teenager. Nelson said she had trouble reconstructing details of some cases because of incomplete files and Obed's shaky memory.

The psychiatrist also pointed to charges of trespass by night that had been laid against Obed, and said that behaviour is consistent with someone searching for victims as part of a paraphilia, or problem controlling sexual urges.

Ten days have been set aside for this hearing, four this week and six more days in April.