By Delon Shurtz on December 5, 2020.
A 40-year-old Lethbridge man accused of breaching court orders to not access the internet had hoped to be released from custody Friday, but he won’t be getting out in time for Christmas.
Gary James Lippa was remanded in custody following a bail hearing Friday to address three charges of failing to comply with release conditions. The alleged breaches relate to sex offences, on which Lippa is waiting to be sentenced in Court of Queen’s Bench.
Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford told court he had intended to simply resolve the breach charges Friday, but changed his mind after reviewing disclosure about how the charges were laid.
Lippa, who had been granted bail after he was charged nearly two years ago with several sex-related offences, was ordered to not use or access the internet, to not have the internet in his residence, and to not possess any device capable of accessing the internet.
Following Friday’s bail hearing, the matter was adjourned to Dec. 16 when, Hadford said, the matter might simply be adjourned again. He said he won’t know for sure until after a QB hearing Dec. 14 when a date will be scheduled for Lippa’s sentencing on charges of sexual assault, child luring and making, printing and publishing child pornography.
Lippa pleaded guilty to the charges in February, but five months later told court he wanted to apply to strike the guilty pleas. On Nov. 26, however, he changed his mind, and Hadford said his client was prepared to be sentenced.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts on Feb. 20, the Crown told court Lippa dated the mother of a young teenage girl he lured into having sex with him. After his relationship with the woman ended, Lippa and the girl lost touch with each other until after she turned 13 in November 2016 and he began texting her graphic, sexual comments and requesting nude photos of her.
In August 2017, the two met several times while she was in Lethbridge staying with friends of the family. On one occasion they went to his residence and had sex.
In September the girl’s stepmother found out she was inappropriately communicating with Lippa online and contacted the RCMP. The girl provided a statement to police and was told to stop communicating with the accused, but he continued talking to her and helped her hide the communications from her family.
After the girl turned 14 Lippa continued to communicate with her sexually, then on Feb. 22, 2018 police arrested him, searched his home, and seized several electronic devices. At first Lippa denied having sex with the girl, but later admitted he did once.
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