July 16th, 2024

Dangerous offender has sentence appeal dismissed

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 7, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Coaldale man designated a dangerous offender in 2019 and convicted for sexually assaulting adolescent girls, has failed to convince Alberta’s appeal court to change his sentence.

Trevor Philip Pritchard appealed the indeterminate prison sentence he received in 2021 in Lethbridge Court of King’s Bench by Madam Justice Johnna Kubik, and asked the Alberta Court of Appeal during a hearing in September to replace it with a determinate sentence, followed by a 10-year supervision order.

Last week, however, justices Patricia Rowbotham, Bernette Ho and April Grosse dismissed the appeal, and in their written decision said they agree with the sentencing judge’s finding that Prichard is a high risk to re-offend and he cannot be safely managed in the community.

During a dangerous offender hearing in December 2020, Calgary lawyer Andre Ouellette suggested a determinate sentence between seven and nine years in prison, with a long-term supervision order, would be more appropriate than an indeterminate sentence without a specified end date.

Ouellette said Pritchard is not a pedophile, but highly sexed, which leads to impulsive behaviour. He suggested Pritchard’s behaviour could be controlled with treatment and management, combined with a long-term, community based program.

However, Kubik said during sentencing a month later, Pritchard needs constant supervision, but community resources for around-the-clock monitoring don’t exist. She also noted Pritchard has received counseling and participated in various programs for sex offenders, but he resisted those interventions and continued to re-offend. She added protecting society is her primary consideration, and a determinate sentence with long-term supervision will not work.

Kubik based much of her decision on Pritchard’s criminal history for sexual offences, which was repeated in the appeal court’s decision.

In December 2003, then 19-year-old Pritchard sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl. He met the complainant in an internet chat room, and they later met in person. Pritchard pleaded guilty and following his sentencing appeal, a conditional sentence order of two years less a day was imposed. He was prohibited from associating with girls under the age of 16 unless accompanied by a responsible adult and from accessing a computer connected to the internet unless approved by his probation officer.

In October 2008 Pritchard was at a park with several others when he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl while she was intoxicated. Police found the complainant dressed only in a tank top, covered in vomit and urine. Pritchard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.

Between June and September 2009 the appellant sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl. He began communicating with the complainant on Facebook, and they later met in person on a few occasions where sexual touching and sexual intercourse occurred. He pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual assault and was sentenced to 44 months imprisonment.

While serving his sentence at Bowden Institution, Pritchard enrolled in the High Intensity Sex Offender Program but was expelled from the program. The evidence indicated that he did not participate meaningfully in group sessions, did not complete individual exercises and violated the program’s confidentiality agreement. After an involuntary transfer to the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, the appellant eventually completed the High Intensity Sex Offender Program.

His probation officer still determined his risk to public safety was high since he failed to demonstrate insight into his offending, accountability for his offences, and motivation to change. Following his release in November 2013 Pritchard entered into a two-year peace bond, prohibiting him from having contact with girls under the age of 16 unless he is in the immediate presence of an adult guardian or the parent of that child, and the guardian or parent was aware of his criminal history. He was also prohibited from possessing any electronic equipment, computer or computer software, or cell phone that could access the internet, except for a game console not connected to the internet. Pritchard lived with his mother, and Quest Support Services, a community access program, provided daytime supervision.

In February 2014 Pritchard breached the peace bond by accessing a dating website while at his father’s home. He was sentenced to 18 months probation. During that time he completed the Good Lives for Men program which focused on building life skills and self-esteem.

In April 2018 Pritchard pleaded guilty in a Lethbridge courtroom to luring and sexual assault of a 15-year-old. The offences occurred between December 2016 and January 2017. Pritchard befriended the girl on Facebook, and offered to take her to a job interview but instead drove her to his home and sexually assaulted her. He threatened to kill her if she went to the police or told anyone about what had happened.

Before sentencing, he underwent a dangerous offender assessment, which found him to be a high risk for sexual recidivism. In February 2019 he was sentenced to six-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Only a month earlier he was convicted of the offences relating to his appeal of the indeterminate sentence: one count of sexual assault, two counts of luring, and one count of possession of child pornography. The trial took place before he was sentenced for the earlier offences of luring and sexual assault against the other girl.

Kubik found Pritchard used Facebook to communicate with two 14-year-old girls, and engaged in explicit sexual communications consistent with grooming, and sent graphic invitations to both girls. Pritchard sexually assaulted one of the girls multiple times.

Kubik also found that Pritchard used his Facebook profile to communicate with multiple, unnamed complainants who identified themselves as being under 16 years old. His communications were consistent with grooming and were sexually explicit, and when he was arrested, police found multiple images of child pornography on several of his devices, which had been created when he was prohibited by his peace bond and probation order.

During sentencing, Kubik said Pritchard preyed on underage girls and showed a pattern of persistent, aggressive behaviour. She said that despite receiving some counselling and treatment, Pritchard did not show any remorse for the violent assaults, and blamed his victims, denied his offences – even the ones to which he pleaded guilty – and justified his behaviour.

“There are no mitigating circumstances in this case,” Kubik bluntly pointed out.

Pritchard appealed his convictions but was unsuccessful. He did hot appeal his dangerous offender designation, and only took issue with the indeterminate sentence, and contended the judge did not conduct a thorough inquiry into community control and failed to consider all the evidence to determine the least intrusive sentence. The appeal judges disagreed.

“The record is clear that the sentencing judge was well aware of the options but was not satisfied that these were sufficient,” they said.

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