A former Yukon man convicted of sexually abusing 13 girls has received an additional one-and-a-half years’ credit on his 16-year sentence on appeal after the trial judge didn’t properly calculate the time he served in jail prior to sentencing.
The other parts of his appeal, however, including his request to have his long-term offender designation overturned, were dismissed, as was an appeal by the Crown for a harsher designation.
Yukon Court of Appeal Justice Gregory James Fitch, backed by justices Anne W. MacKenzie and Barbara Fisher, issued his decision on Aug. 7.
The man cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his victims.
He pleaded guilty to more than 20 offences, including sexual interference, voyeurism and making child pornography, in 2018.
All of his victims were under 14 years old and girls over whom the man held a position of trust and authority. He committed the majority of his offences, which took place over the course of seven years beginning in 2008, in the Yukon, with the others happening in British Columbia or Ontario.
The courts have described his crimes as “calculated and brazen,” “grossly invasive” and “horrifying and deplorable.”
Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale designated the man a long-term offender in June 2018, sentencing him to 16 years in prison followed by a 10-year-long supervision order.
Both the man and the Crown appealed the sentence.
The man, whose lawyer had originally asked that he receive a seven to nine-year-long sentence, argued that Veale had erred on four grounds: in his “articulation and application of the standard of proof” for a long-term offender designation; in designating him a long-term offender before considering whether a regular prison sentence would offer enough protection to the public; misapprehending a forensic psychiatrist’s assessment of the man; and giving the man a “demonstrably unfit” sentence.
The Crown, meanwhile, had originally asked that the man be designated a dangerous offender, which would have allowed for him to be incarcerated indefinitely, among other things. It appealed Veale’s dismissal of its dangerous offender application, arguing that he had wrongly interpreted the threshold to designate someone a dangerous offender and gave unfair weight to the psychiatrist’s assessment as well as an apology the man gave in court.
Fitch, in his written decision, dismissed the Crown’s entire appeal and the majority of the man’s, finding that, for the most part, Veale had evaluated the evidence and legal standards before him correctly.
He did find, however, that the man was not given proper credit for the time he’d already spent in jail prior to being sentenced. The original sentence, Fitch found, had only given the man credit for 1,299 days when in fact, he should have received credit for 1,850 days.
The mathematical error was not disputed by either side.
Fitch granted the man the difference in credit — 551 days, or just more than one-and-a-half years — but otherwise kept the man’s sentence intact.
“In my view, the sentence imposed in this case has not been shown to be demonstrably unfit… The constellation of aggravating features required the imposition of a sentence in the range imposed by the judge,” Fitch wrote.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org