January 15th, 2021

Appeal of sexual assault conviction set for Thursday in Calgary

By Shurtz, Delon on February 19, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald


An appeal of a southern Alberta man’s conviction last year for sexually assaulting a former girlfriend is expected to be heard Thursday in a Calgary courtroom.

Jesse Nielsen is scheduled to appear before the Court of Appeal to appeal his convictions of sexual assault, assault and criminal harassment. The Lethbridge man was sentenced last August to five and a half years in prison after the judge found he beat his girlfriend during their relationship and sexually assaulted her.

Nielson denied the allegations during his trial and claimed the woman was violent toward him. But Judge Eric Brooks accepted the victim’s evidence that she was repeatedly beaten during the turbulent relationship, and sexually assaulted on three occasions.

“He’s spit in my face, gagged me, choked me, pinned me to the ground, forced himself inside me,” she said while reading her victim impact statement.

Brooks agreed with defence’s recommendation for a sentence between four and a half and five and a half years, while the Crown had recommended a penitentiary sentence of seven and a half to eight and a half years, and told court during sentencing submissions the “grave” crimes against the victim warranted the lengthier prison term.

The judge also credited Nielson with 13 months for time he already spent in custody, leaving him with a sentence of four years and five months.

Brooks acknowledged Nielson’s 25 previous criminal convictions and a pre-sentence report and psychological assessment that indicates Nielson has an anti-social disorder, is a moderate to high risk to re-offend, and is not remorseful for his actions. But he added the man has strong family support, has never received a jail sentence longer than five and a half months, and can still be rehabilitated.

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