May 18th, 2024

Client won’t testify at dangerous offender hearing

By Herald on December 11, 2020.

Delon Shurtz
lethbridge herald
A hearing to determine whether a convicted sex offender should be classified a dangerous offender ended abruptly Thursday after his lawyer announced his client won’t testify in court.
Following the conclusion of the Crown’s case Thursday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, Calgary lawyer Andre Ouellette told Madam Justice Johnna Kubik he won’t call any evidence. The matter now returns to court today to hear arguments by the Crown and defence, before the matter is adjourned to the new year for Kubik’s decision.
The Crown is attempting to have Trevor Philip Pritchard designated a dangerous offender, which would keep him in custody for an indeterminate amount of time without parole eligibility for seven years from the date he was taken into custody. The Crown maintains Pritchard has shown a pattern of repetitive, persistent aggressive behaviour and a failure to control sexual impulses, which indicates he is a “significant future threat.”
Defence, on the other hand, suggests Pritchard should only be deemed a long-term offender, which would result in a sentence of at least two years in prison, followed by community supervision. Both designations are aimed at protecting the public and preventing future violence.
Pritchard’s dangerous-offender hearing began in February but faced several delays until it resumed Wednesday. The Crown called two witnesses Wednesday and Thursday — a forensic psychiatrist and social worker — who were involved in conducting assessments of Pritchard while he was in custody.
Dr. David Tano, a forensic psychologist at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre in Calgary, completed two assessments of Pritchard — one in 2018 and the other in 2019 — and concluded Pritchard is a high risk to re-offend.
Pritchard pleaded guilty in 2018 to sexual assault and child luring in relation to and underage girl, and he was sentenced in February of last year to six and a half years in a federal penitentiary.
Court was told Pritchard carefully planned the assault and, using Facebook, carefully groomed the girl to trust him over several months before he finally took her to his house – under the pretense of giving her a job – and forced her into various sex acts. He then drove her home and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
Pritchard was also found guilty in January 2019 following a trial on charges of sexual assault, luring and possession of child pornography in relation to several underage girls. Sentencing on those charges was adjourned, however, pending the outcome of the dangerous-offender hearing being held this week.
Pritchard also has convictions for sexually assaulting underage girls from 2004, 2009 and 2010.
Following the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Ouellette said outside court it was not necessary for his client to testify because he believes the Crown failed to meet the legal test for a dangerous-offender designation. He also pointed out that although the Crown relies on the two reports prepared by Dr. Tano, the 2018 report is too old to provide an accurate assesment of Pritchard.
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