Dangerous offender who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old in Hay River loses bid for new trial

·2 min read
Cody Durocher, pictured here following a court appearance in Yellowknife, will continue to serve a 14 year sentence he was given following a jury trial in 2019. (Richard Gleeson/CBC - image credit)
Cody Durocher, pictured here following a court appearance in Yellowknife, will continue to serve a 14 year sentence he was given following a jury trial in 2019. (Richard Gleeson/CBC - image credit)

An N.W.T. man who was sentenced to 14 years in jail and declared a dangerous offender has lost his bid for a new trial.

In a written decision this month, the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal launched by Cody Durocher. In 2019 he was declared a dangerous offender after being convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference after raping a 13-year-old girl in Hay River, N.W.T.

It was the fourth time Durocher, who was then 34 years old, has been convicted of sexual assault.

In his appeal, Durocher argued in part that the judge made errors in letting his jury trial continue after the complainant did not show up for the last part of her questioning by Durocher's lawyer.

But the appeal court judges said the N.W.T. Supreme Court judge who handled the trial, Chief Justice Louise Charbonneau, handled the problem appropriately. Charbonneau allowed Durocher's lawyer to enter the victim's police statement into evidence and highlight for the jury inconsistencies between that and what the girl said in court.

Durocher also argued that two of the agreed statements of facts — evidence that both sides agree is accurate — that were entered as evidence at the trial were improper because they amounted to expert opinion. The appeal judges pointed out that an accused person can admit any fact or refuse to admit it, that there were no objections to the statement.

Justice Charbonneau sentenced Durocher to a maximum of 14 years for sexual assault and declared him a dangerous offender.

She said it was excessive to sentence him to an indefinite prison sentence, as many dangerous offenders are. Instead she ordered that he be under supervision by parole officers for 10 years following the completion of his sentence for sexual assault.

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