The Court sentenced an Indigenous offender to 18 months custody for committing sexual assault and a breach of release order. A Pre-Sentence Report was considered, and the Court determined that the offender lacked insight into how the crime had negatively impacted the victim.
Mr. GD pleaded guilty to sexual assault that occurred in 2018. At that time, he was 22-years-old and the complainant was 15-years-old. He has also pleaded guilty to a breach of a release order, by having contact with the complainant. The Crown sought a maximum sentence of 18 months for the sexual assault and a consecutive sentence of one month for the breach, followed by a Probation Order of two years. The defence sought an eight month sentence on the sexual assault and a non-custodial sentence on the breach.
The Court looked to the fundamental purpose and principle of sentencing and acknowledged that teenagers under the age of 16 require protection from unwanted, forced and premature sexual activity from adults or people more than five years older than them. Not only was the complainant incapable of consenting to engage in sexual activity because she was under the age of sixteen, but the moral culpability of a 22-year-old committing a sexual offence against someone of her age is high. Further, the complainant became pregnant and gave birth to the offender’s child at the age of sixteen.
The Court considered a Pre-Sentence Report which took into account the offender’s Indigeneity. His family history includes parental alcohol abuse and neglect, child protection intervention, poverty, inadequate food, a lack of a father figure, amongst others. The Report also indicated that he has a lack of insight into his offending behaviour that demonstrates an unsophisticated and dangerous view of women and girls.
It is mitigating that he pleaded guilty, saving the victim from a trial, as weel he has no criminal record and has taken anger management. It is aggravating that he lacks insight, there is a high risk of his reoffending, and the offence has resulted in a child who now has a single mother. The Court was of the view that the best method of deterring him in the future is to take sex offender treatment. However, the recommended program is not currently running due to COVID-19. The offender was sentenced with the hopes of the program running in the near future and to ensure he has enough time to apply and participate. In such a case, he will learn more about premature sexual activity and its negative impacts, the particular vulnerabilities of young, Indigenous girls, his own power and his probably unintentional exploitation of that power over young sexual partners.
The sentence on the sexual assault was one of 18 months custody and one week for the breach of the release order, followed by two years of supervised probation. After applying credit for time served, GD has 286 days remaining of his sentence.