Sentencing for the Penticton man found guilty of pimping out his stepdaughter and sexually assaulting her is scheduled to take place on April 15.
The man, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban to protect the teenage girl, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 14, sexual interference of a person under 16, two counts of living on the avails of prostitution of a person under 18, sexual exploitation, parent of guardian procuring sexual activity and aiding a person to engage in prostitution.
Judge Gregory Korturbash said during his decision at trial in August that the girl, who is now 18, was involved in the sex trade not of her own volition and believed she was under threats from the stepfather to earn money for his drug habit.
On Monday both Crown and defence were in Penticton provincial court to speak to an application on whether the stepfather should be sentenced in person or via video from Kamloops Regional Correction Centre.
“This is a very serious matter and it would be better to have him appear in person. It is more meaningful,” said Crown counsel Wendy Kavanagh.
In October, months after the guilty decision was handed down, the court heard from defence counsel James Pennington that the stepfather’s life was threatened in jail at KRCC and he was under 23-hour lockdown. Pennington said there were security concerns in Penticton that needed to be addressed as well if he is to appear in person for sentencing.
During the application hearing, a member of the B.C. Sheriff Services said he was told by officers at KRCC the stepfather had been uncooperative with them and there had already been a problem at the Penticton courthouse during the trial. Although it wasn’t made clear what the exact problem was, the stepfather had been in some sort of incident while in the courthouse lockup and his glasses were broken. The sheriff said if the stepfather was to appear in court they would need more resources and preferred he appeared via video.
Ultimately the judge decided the stepfather could appear via video if it is available, otherwise he would have to appear in person.
“Technology has come so far and gives people a virtual presence in the courtroom and I would hope my comments at sentencing will be heard just as well,” said Korturbash.
Pennington said he would not be calling evidence and instructions from his client were to proceed with sentencing. He then was asked if he now wouldn’t be seeking enhanced credit.
“I didn’t say that,” said Pennington adding he would be relying strictly on case law.
Circumstances in which enhanced credit have been given include conditions of the remand facilities, delay post-trial not attributed to the accused and delay due to Crown. Those in custody have been given a one-to-one basis ever since an amendment was made to the criminal code that eliminated a two-to-one ratio for pre-sentencing custody that effectively cut a sentence in half. Now an offender can only receive up to 1.5-to-one credit, where circumstances are justified. The stepfather has been behind bars since he was arrested on July 22, 2011.
Sentencing of the stepfather is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Monday and is expected to take half a day.