An Indigenous man with significant Gladue factors that diminished some of his moral blameworthiness, was given a global sentence of three years and three months imprisonment for a sexual assault and assault on his domestic partner, as well as for breaching a no-contact order.
In 2020, Mr. Saddleback was found guilty after trial on one count of assault, contrary to s 266 and one count of sexual assault, contrary to s 271 of the Criminal Code (R v Saddleback, 2020 ABPC 168). The complainant was his domestic partner. Following his conviction, Mr. Saddleback entered guilty pleas to three other charges of breaching a court order, contrary to s 145(5)(b). The issue in this matter, is the determination of a fit sentence.
The complainant and the accused were in a domestic relationship but had been living separate and apart for a period of time. The accused returned to reside with the complainant in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in the early hours of the night, the accused committed sexual assault that included non-consensual vaginal penetration and physically biting the complainant in varying places, that took many weeks to heal. It was only by escaping to a neighbor’s house and a subsequent call to the police did the assualt end hours later. A no-contact Order was issued under s 516(2) following the accused’s arrest prohibiting him from having any contact with the complainant. However, the accused telephoned the complainant from the Calgary Remand Centre. When the complainant declined to accept the call, Mr. Saddleback proceeded to call her several more times that day.
Viewed as a whole, the conduct of the accused in the case at bar constituted a grave violation of the complainant’s bodily integrity, resulting likely in serious emotional and psychological harm, as there was no victim impact statement submitted. This finding is consistent with the highly intrusive and violent nature of the sexual assault, the complainant’s testimony that she begged the accused to stop, and from her demeanor in court when describing the assault.
Mr. Saddleback is a 53-year-old Indigenous man. He was born in Wetaskiwin, and is the second eldest of eight siblings. Both his parents are now deceased. Growing up he witnessed physical abuse, as well as drug and alcohol consumption within the family beginning at an early age. He was apprehended by Child and Family Services on numerous occasions on and off between the ages of 3 and 12. He describes his experiences with the “white” foster families as varying from severe violence to one that was “loving” and had him involved in numerous organized sports. At the age of twelve, he moved back to Hobbema with his mother and sister, and did not return to foster care. Mr. Saddleback reports that he first consumed alcohol at the age of six, and tried marijuana at age seven. He had access to drugs and alcohol through his siblings and cousins, and was drinking regularly by the age of 14.
Mr. Saddleback has a grade 11 education. He reports that three generations of his family attended Residential Schools. Mr. Saddleback reports losing a number of close family members to violence, suicide and overdose. According to the Gladue report, Mr. Saddleback was not present for the births of any of his three biological children due to being incarcerated. He states he received no help for his FASD condition, and had to learn to manage the disorder on his own. Mr. Saddleback suffers from Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders. He has an extensive criminal record with over 90 adult convictions (present offences included) dating back to 1984 with few gaps in between.
The crime committed by Mr. Saddleback is serious. The harm to the complainant is significant, as is the harm to the community in undermining people’s sense of security and safety in their own homes. Mr. Saddleback has nine prior convictions for breaching different types of court orders, including one conviction for contempt of court. The current breaches (which were put in place to protect the complainant) were deliberate, and committed within a day of his arrest. All that being said, Mr. Saddleback presents with significant Gladue factors, which, when viewed through the lens of normal human experience, can be presumed to have contributed to his long history of criminal behaviour, present offences included. For that, his moral blameworthiness can be viewed as somewhat diminished, thereby a global sentence of three years and three months imprisonment would be a just and proportionate sentence.