R v GD, 2019 BCPC 179

After balancing sentencing objectives with the gravity of the violent and sexual offences committed, the offender’s Indigenous heritage was minorly influential in determining a fit sentence. 

Native Law Centre CaseWatch Blog

The accused was convicted of five offences relating to the confinment and repeated sexual abuse of a 16-year-old friend of her son’s over a two-day period. The offences were committed with her husband who pled guilty to four of the five offences and received a 15-year sentence.

There was an extensive list of aggravating features in this case. There was an element of planning to the offences. The offender was a co-perpetrator, primarily assisting in the execution of the plan once aware of it, although, did act independently at times. There was repeated violent, cruel and degrading acts over that period of two days. The assaults involved gratuitous and excessive violence for perverse reasons that went beyond what was necessary to gain the victim’s compliance. There was a power imbalance between the offender and victim by virtue of their age difference. The victim suffered multiple physical injuries.

The offender expressed a lack of genuine remorse. The offender’s criminal record was given marginal bearing, as most were unrelated offences and had lack of proximity in time. The offender’s psychological profile, however, presented a high risk to engage in future sexual offences with the accomplice, or another male offender, while in the community. Even with intensive interventions, the accused’s rehabilitative prospects are guarded.

At times, the offender showed kindness to the victim and attempted at times to reduce suffering. The offender cooperated to a limited extent with police (treated marginally given its limited nature). The offender had taken concrete and positive steps towards rehabilitation while in custody. She has engaged in individual therapy sessions and numerous programs. There was no ascertainable evidence that the offender had been affected by racism, lower educational attainment, unemployment, low income or lack of employment opportunities as a result of her Métis heritage. The proportionate sentence to the gravity of the offence and degree of responsibility is a sentence of 12 years.

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