The Crown prosecutors in a disturbing Yukon child sex abuse case are asking that an “audio-visual exhibit” to be presented as part of the offender’s sentencing hearing be sealed from the public.
Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair, accompanied by fellow Crown attorney Susan Bogle, made the application in Whitehorse court Oct. 19.
The application is related to a case where, on Oct. 5, a man pleaded guilty to 19 charges of child sexual abuse, including nine charges of sexual interference, eight charges of producing child pornography and two counts of voyeurism. The 11 victims of his crimes, which he committed between January 2008 and July 2013, were all girls under 14 years old.
The man cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his victims.
“I make this application with a heavy heart,” Sinclair said in court Oct. 19, describing the exhibit as “profoundly disturbing and upsetting” and “the kinds of thing the court cannot unsee.”
However, Sinclair said he thought it was necessary for the presiding judge on the case, Justice Ron Veale, to view the exhibit in order to “understand the extreme gravity” of the offences and factor them appropriately into the man’s sentencing.
Sinclair proposed Veale view the exhibit in his private chambers, where no one else would be exposed to its contents. He added that the victims’ families have expressed concerns about keeping the victims anonymous and about allowing the man to view the contents again, should they be displayed in open court.
The Crown is also asking for two indictments — one containing the victims’ initials, and another with their full names — to be sealed from the public as well. An anonymized version has been made and will continue to be available for public access.
The man’s lawyer, Vincent Larochelle, was not present in court for the application but had said in an earlier proceeding that he would not oppose it.
Veale will deliver a written decision on the application.
The man is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29, 2018.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org