October 28th, 2020

Sentencing hearing set in sexual assault case


By Shurtz, Delon on June 24, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A sentencing hearing has finally been set for a 51-year-old Raymond man who was found guilty last year of sexually assaulting two underage girls three decades ago.

The hearing, which has been adjourned several times since the man was found guilty last December, is scheduled to run Aug. 28 in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench.

On Dec. 17 Madam Justice Johnna Kubik convicted the man 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.

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, who can’t be named to protect the identities of the complainants, 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 convicted 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. The third woman, however, could only offer “snippets” of memories, which were incomplete and likely inaccurate. She also pointed out evidence suggests the accused couldn’t have committed the offences at the times alleged because he was working or away for other reasons.

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