The man who pleaded guilty to confining, beating and raping a Penticton woman as her toddler sat by her side could go to prison for life.
Crown prosecutors are in a Kelowna courtroom this week, presenting arguments to B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers that David Wesley Bobbitt, 39, should be labelled a Dangerous Offender. It’s a designation that could see him sent away for an indeterminate prison sentence.
As the diminutive and balding man sat in the prisoner’s box staring at his feet, Crown counsel Deb Drissell explained that Bobbit’s actions July 30 2011, subsequent psychological evaluations and allegations of previous sexual violence met the bar set for the classification.
His offence alone was so brutal, she said, it indicated that future behaviour is unlikely to be inhibited by standard restraints and he will likely harm others if given the opportunity.
Highlighting that brutality, Drissell revisited the events of July 30, 2011. A young Penticton mother went to Bobbitt’s store to look for a trundle bed for her 22 month old son. As she was leaving, Bobbitt knocked her down with a hammer-blow to the head. Then, over the course of 15 hours she was imprisoned, he continued to hit her with the hammer, burnt her with cigarettes, bit her and violently sexually assaulted her while threatening to turn on her child.
“She remained quiet,” Drissell told the court. “She did not want to give him an excuse to turn his attention to her son.”
Reading from the woman’s victim impact statement, Drissell added that the woman expected that she and her son would die from the attack, and with that belief in mind she removed his diaper and tried to console him, so he’d at least be comfortable during their last few hours.
If it weren’t for the intervention of her family, who found her after a lengthy search, that may have been her fate, said Drissell. There’s medical evidence supporting the idea that she could have died from the wounds incurred, having lost significant amounts of blood and suffering gashes that cut to her skull.
In addition to the nature of Bobbitt’s violence, there’s also the issue of remorse, which he’s never expressed. That, Drissell said, is unusual.
From the moment he was imprisoned, Bobbitt had failed to show any regard for his victim or the crimes he later pleaded guilty to. When an undercover police officer entered the cell with Bobbitt, he was immediately put ill at ease.
Bobbitt threatened to kill him by biting out his Adam’s apple, then later shared details about how he’d been violent from a young age. He also laughed about the crime he’d been arrested for, noting that his victim “was a tough bitch.”
In subsequent psychological assessments, Bobbitt went so far as to blame his victim for the amount of force he levied.
While Drissell argued that brutality and lack of remorse paint a damning enough picture of Bobbitt, there is also the matter of allegations that precede the current charge. Crown counsel Nashina Devji argued that Bobbitt raped and beat his then girlfriend in 2007. During what seemed like a trial within a sentencing hearing, Devji said that there was ample corroborated evidence to support the claim that the alleged victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, was assaulted violently.
In Bobbitt’s defence, lawyer James Pennington argued that the earlier account of violence should be disregarded, based on her character and previous unfruitful dealings with police.
“The crown has not proven these allegations … (The witness’) credibility is a huge factor and she has no credibility. She should not be believed,” Pennington said.
For Justice Peter Rogers to declare Bobbitt a dangerous offender, he must find his offences were so brutal that it’s unlikely his behaviour will be inhibited by standard restraints, or that he shows he can’t control his sexual impulses and will likely harm others again.