By Shurtz, Delon on April 22, 2020.
The sentencing hearing for a 51-year-old Raymond man found guilty last year of sexually assaulting two underage girls when he was an adult three decades ago has been adjourned for several weeks.
Like most cases being heard in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench during the COVID-19 pandemic, sentencing for the Raymond man, which was set for Tuesday, has been adjourned until June.
In December 2019 Madam Justice Johnna Kubik convicted the man, who can’t be named to protect the identities of the complainants, on two counts of sexual assault in relation to two girls, who are now adults, but found him not guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference in relation to a third woman.
Kubik also ordered the man to participate in a psychiatric and psychological assessment in Calgary to help determine his risk to re-offend. The assessment was expected to take several weeks to complete, and the matter was adjourned to Jan. 13 when sentencing was set for last Tuesday.
The man admitted he assaulted one of the women multiple times in August 1986 when he was 18, but he denied assaulting the other two women, one of whom testified during trial that the last time he assaulted her was one week before his wedding in 1993.
Lethbridge lawyer Robert Bissett invited the judge during his closing arguments in November to convict his client on one count of sexual assault in relation to one woman, but he said a second woman was simply confused about the dates of the assaults, which actually occurred when the accused was a youth, not an adult. He has already been sentenced in relation to assaults on the women when he was a youth.
The third woman, Bissett suggested, offered unreliable evidence during her testimony earlier in the trial as she tried to remember what happened more than 30 years ago when she was a child.
Although the accused never forced the women, who were between the age of eight and 13, to participate in the sex acts, they were too young to legally consent, which resulted in the charges. The man was charged after one complainant reported the assaults to RCMP in 2016. The other victims were then contacted by the police.
Reading from her written decision, Kubik said the two women who claimed the man assaulted them when he was 18 provided reliable and credible evidence and recalled specific incidents. The third woman, Kubik said, could only offer “snippets” of memories, which were incomplete and likely inaccurate. She also pointed out divergent evidence suggests the accused couldn’t have committed the offences at the times alleged, given such factors as his work schedule.
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