February 21st, 2024

Preliminary hearings set in sex-related case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 1, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Preliminary inquiries will be held later this year for a 45-year-old man facing numerous sex-related offences in Lethbridge.

James Robert Martinac, who is in custody at the Calgary Remand Centre, will have a preliminary inquiry May 23-24 on charges of sexual assault, sexual contact with a child, sexual exploitation, luring a child under the age of 18, luring a child under the age of 16 , and possession of child pornography. He is also scheduled to have a preliminary inquiry June 6-7 on charges of sexual assault, sexual contact with a child, luring a child under the age of 18, and possession of child pornography.

A preliminary inquiry is typically held to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.

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 then 16-year-old girl 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.

Martinac was on the verge of resolving the charges in late 2022 before changing his mind in June 2023 when he elected trial by Court of King’s bench judge alone, with a preliminary hearing.

Martinac also 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 was expected to resolve the Calgary charges last November, but changed his mind and elected trial by judge and jury on all the charges.

Martinac is scheduled to have a preliminary inquiry on his Calgary charges Feb. 13-15 in Calgary court of justice.

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