An Indigenous offender convicted for a major sexual assault, has been designated a Long Term Offender and sentenced to a prison term of 6 years and 8 months, with credit for time spent on remand. The offender has considerable issues to address to overcome his substance abuse disorder and traumas from his past, and maintain a pro-social lifestyle. A jail term should afford him an opportunity to have access to the programming that he needs.
Following a jury trial held in Inuvik, Mr. Simon was convicted for a sexual assault committed against HK. The background that led to Mr. Simon’s conviction was that he and the victim had known each other for many years. On the day of the incident, they had spent some time together on the streets of Inuvik, drinking. They went to the apartment of someone that the victim knew, looking for more alcohol. Because no one was home, they broke into the apartment and stole mickeys of vodka from the fridge. They then left the apartment ending up in a staircase where they drank the mickeys. At some point Mr. Simon started pushing the victim on the chest with his hands until she fell onto her back, where she was subsequently sexually assaulted. Mr. Simon then left the building. Eventually, the victim got dressed and went directly to the warming shelter where she called the RCMP.
Mr. Simon is now 39 years old. He is Gwich’in, which engages the special legal framework that governs the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. That framework applies to Dangerous Offender and Long Term Offender proceedings (R v Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13; R v Boutillier, 2017 SCC 64). Mr. Simon’s childhood was deeply traumatic. He does not know who his father is and lived with his mother until he was 5 years old. After that, for many years he lived mainly with his grandfather, whereupon Mr. Simon suffered very serious physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his grandfather between the ages of 5 and 18. This abuse happened when his grandfather was intoxicated. Mr. Simon witnessed violence and fights in the home on a regular basis.
When Mr. Simon was 14 years old, his mother was stabbed to death. He believes, and has for years, that his grandfather was responsible for her death. He has also suspected for years that his grandfather may in fact be his biological father. Mr. Simon began consuming alcohol at a very young age, around 5 or 7 years old, and was using alcohol regularly before he turned 12. When he was 11 years old a relative introduced him to sniffing gasoline. He began sniffing gasoline, propane and other inhalants on a regular basis. All his life, he was never cared for properly, nor had rules or structure. He went hungry and he did not have proper clothing for the seasons. Mr. Simon has an extensive criminal record which includes a wide variety of offenses ranging from relatively minor offenses to very serious ones.
Although Mr. Simon believes that the death of his grandfather sets the stage for a major change in his life, it is likely that any significant change will require intensive therapeutic intervention and ongoing support. His rehabilitation, as well as the protection of the public, require that he be subject to external controls beyond the reach of the term of imprisonment that must be imposed for his sexual assault of HK. Considering the fact that Mr. Simon has no impediment, cognitive or otherwise, to taking treatment and programming, that he is motivated and has engaged in programming in the past, it is not necessary to have him subjected to outside controls for a further 8 years after the completion of the custodial portion of his sentence.