July 20th, 2024

Lethbridge man set to enter pleas on sex and child pornography charges


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 23, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Preliminary inquiries scheduled later this Spring for a man facing numerous sex-related offences could be cancelled if the Crown and defence come to an agreement to resolve the charges without a trial.

The matters for James Robert Martinac were in Lethbridge court of justice Friday, where Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford said he and the Crown are working on an agreed statement of facts and his client will enter pleas during a court appearance next week.

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.

He is set to have a preliminary hearing 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 hearing 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.

Those charges, however, have been brought forward from their preliminary hearing dates for resolution next Thursday, along with a set of Calgary charges that may also be resolved.

“It’s my hope that on March 28 we will be able to put all the matters together and enter pleas,” Hadford said.

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 was expected to resolve the Calgary charges last November, but changed his mind and elected trial by judge and jury. He was scheduled to have a preliminary inquiry for those charges last month in Calgary, but they will be waived to Lethbridge for resolution.

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