By Delon Shurtz on December 12, 2020.
If a Lethbridge judge doesn’t believe a convicted sex offender should get an indeterminite prison sentence, then he should get a determinite sentence of at least 14 years, a Crown prosecutor suggested Friday.
But Sarah Goard-Baker, one of two Crown lawyers prosecuting the Trevor Philip Pritchard sex-assault case in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, wants Pritchard designated a dangerous offender and is seeking an indeterminite sentence.
Goard-Baker told Madam Justice Johnna Kubik evidence presented during the dangerous-offender hearing this week and earlier in the year, shows Pritchard is a high risk to re-offend and will present a significant risk to others after he is released from custody.
“He needs constant supervision and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Goard-Baker said.
Pritchard was 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.
Several Crown witnesses testified, including Dr. David Tano, a forensic psychologist who conducted two assessments on Pritchard and concluded he poses a high risk to re-offend.
Pritchard pleaded guilty in 2018 to sexual assault and child luring in relation to an 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 Ð under the pretense of giving her a job Ð and forced her into various sex acts. He then drove her home and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
Pritchard also has convictions for sexually assaulting underage girls from 2004, 2009 and 2010.
Calgary lawyer Andre Ouellette suggested an appropriate determinite sentence would be seven to nine years in prison, with a long-term supervision order.
He said Pritchard is not a pedophile, but highly sexed, which leads to impulsive behaviour. Ouellette suggested Pritchard’s behaviour could be controlled with treatment and management, combined with a long-term, community based program.
He noted, however, that treatment is really not the issue, because Dr. Tano was unable to provide a diagnosis to explain Pritchard’s behaviour, leading Ouellette to ask what Pritchard would be treated for.
Ouellette pointed out that regardless of the type of sentence imposed, Pritchard will eventually be released from custody. He urged the judge to ask herself when the best time would be to release the offender: after he has become hardened in prison, or when he can benefit from community services that would help him control his urges.
If designated a dangerous offender, Pritchard can either receive a determinite sentence, a determinite sentence with long-term supervision, or an indeterminite sentence. If indeterminite, Pritchard would not be eligible for parole for seven years from the time he was taken into custody. Once he is released, however, he will be subject to parole conditions for the rest of his life.
During much of Friday’s hearing Pritchard, who is serving his 2018 conviction at the Drumheller Institution, sat slumped over in the prisoners’ dock, with his head in his hands. His father, who has attended most of his son’s court hearings, sat directly behind him.
The dangerous offender hearing concluded Friday, and the matter is scheduled to return for Justice Kubik’s decision Jan. 14.
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