Update: High-profile sex assault sentencing delayed

Gary Leaman at a court appearance in Penticton in January. - Western News file photo
Gary Leaman at a court appearance in Penticton in January.
— image credit: Western News file photo

The former Penticton politician who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault is “surviving,” his lawyer said Wednesday after learning the case had been delayed by nearly three months.

Gary Allan Leaman, 58, is now due back in Penticton provincial court on June 11 to set a new date for sentencing.

The court is still awaiting completion of a psychological assessment that will form part of a pre-sentencing report upon which the judge will base a decision.

Defence counsel Michael Welsh said outside the courtroom it’s his understanding there is a backlog of offenders requiring assessments and the system is “too backed up,” resulting in the delay for his client.

Ben Hadaway, a spokesperson for the Provincial Health Services Authority, said such assessments are conducted by psychiatrists at six clinics and jails throughout B.C., but was unable to explain the apparent delay in the system.

In the meantime, Leaman, who wasn’t in the courtroom Wednesday, “is surviving,” Welsh said. “What more can you say?”

Leaman faces a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail on each of the two counts.

The offences to which he pleaded guilty in January occurred between 2009 and 2011, although a publication ban applies to any details that would identify the victims.

Welsh confirmed he has had  discussions with the Crown in regard to sentencing, “but I can’t really disclose anything.”

Leaman served one term as a Penticton city councillor from 2002 to 2005, but was not re-elected. He also ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2008 and again for council in 2011.

He retired in October 2013 from his long-time job as manager of the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre and charges were sworn in November.

Leaman is free on $750 bail, some conditions of which required him to surrender his passport and remain within B.C.







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