February 26th, 2024

Man charged with numerous sex-related charges to be tried by judge and jury

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 23, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 44-year-old man facing numerous sex-related offences in Lethbridge and Calgary is headed for trial in the Court of King’s Bench.

James Robert Martinac, who appeared in Lethbridge court of justice on Wednesday, elected to be tried by judge and jury in the Superior court, with a preliminary hearing.

That hearing, to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial, won’t be held until the new year. In the meantime, the Crown and defence will schedule a pretrial conference to discuss the case, and the matter will return to court of justice next month to confirm a date for the preliminary hearing.

Martinac faces 13 charges out of Calgary, including sexual contact with a child, sexual assault, possession of child pornography, distribute/sell child pornography, and make/print/publish child pornography. He also faces nearly a dozen Lethbridge charges, including sexual assault, sexual contact with a child, luring a child under 18, sexual exploitation and luring a child under 16.

Lethbridge police reported in May 2022 they had charged a man with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2021. In April 2022, the girl, who was then 16 years old, told police she had been sexually assaulted by a man who is known to her.

Investigation by members of the criminal investigation section determined the girl had been staying with the man at his home and was given drugs and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions over the course of several months in 2021. During their investigation police seized electronic devices that contained images of child pornography.

Late last year Martinac was on the verge of resolving the charges before changing his mind last June when he elected trial by Court of King’s bench judge alone, with a preliminary hearing. Then he was expected to resolve the Calgary charges Wednesday, but changed his mind again and decided for trial by judge and jury on all the charges.

The matter is scheduled to return to court Dec. 21. In the meantime Martinac remains in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre pending a bail hearing.

“We’re just trying to get a place for him to stay,” his lawyer told court.

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