Saint John man to be added to sex offender registry

A Saint John man who had previously been spared a spot on the federal sex offender registry will now be added to it for 20 years following his prison sentence.

Last fall, Luke McPhee-Lawson, 39, was found guilty after trial of unlawful confinement, aggravated assault and sexual assault in a case of man who had come to McPhee-Lawson's Cedar Street house to buy drugs.

The man, whose identity is projected by a publication ban, was tied to a chair with Gorilla Tape and bungee cords on the night of March 17, 2022, escaping the next day, court heard during trial.

The man's nose and jaw was broken, and McPhee-Lawson was found to be responsible for shooting at the man with a CO2 firearm and hitting him with a mallet in the forehead, as well as subjecting him to forced oral sex on multiple occasions.

McPhee-Lawson was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, less 308 days of enhanced credit due to adverse conditions in the Saint John Regional Correctional centre, along with a 10-year weapons prohibition.

At the time, though, Crown prosecutor Jeremy Erickson said he wasn't concerned by recidivism, and judge Kelly Ann Winchester opted not to order McPhee-Lawson to register under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.

That changed Wednesday, as Winchester said she'd "neglected to impose" the sex offender registry as part of his sentence.

"Upon reflection of the Crown prosecutor, it should have already been put in place," she explained.

But, she said, McPhee-Lawson could apply to the court to be removed from the registry.

McPhee-Lawson's lawyer, Charles Bryant, said he'd explained to his client that the registry is mandatory under the Criminal Code of Canada, but McPhee-Lawson indicated he'd file to appeal the decision.

"He can appeal anything he wants," Winchester told the court.

During his sentencing, Winchester said McPhee-Lawson had spent the past four years in the throes of an addiction that has “taken over your life," and causing him to "spiral out of control.” She credited him for not having a criminal record, for dealing with mental health and addictions issues, and for the support of his family, who were in attendance.

“Although our versions of what took place are very different ... I hurt him, both physically and mentally, and I had no right to do that,” McPhee-Lawson told the court during his sentencing.

“I want it to be known that I deeply regret my actions, and he did not deserve to be treated the way he was treated in my home. I would like to offer my sincere apologies for my behaviour, and I know that these words can in no way make up for my actions, but I am hopeful they will help the healing process.”

-- With files from Andrew Bates

Marlo Glass, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal