Sentencing delayed on sex assault

Judge expected next week to determine the fate of an Oliver man charged with sexually assaulting his stepdaughter nearly four years ago

Almost four years since have passed since charges were laid against an Oliver man found guilty of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter and he is yet to be sentenced.

Judge Meg Shaw said on Monday that despite delays and the length of time that has passed since the charges were initially laid, she needed more time to decide the man’s fate.

The stepfather, whose name cannot be used in order to protect the girl’s identity, continues to deny anything ever happened despite being found guilty in January of sexual assault, sexual interference of a person under 16 and touching a young person for sexual purpose. The acts took place when the man was in a common-law relationship with the girl’s mother, which continues to this day. The girl, who was 11 years old at the time of the assaults, testified last year of the inappropriate touching that occurred at least three to four times per week and how he tried to penetrate her. She said she was too afraid to tell anyone because he made threats against her family and convinced her no one would believe her. The allegations came to light when a teacher at the girl’s school noticed something was bothering the girl and asked if something inappropriate was happening at home.

The stepfather said in his defence that the girl lied and was angry because he was stricter than her mother, causing the stepdaughter to not get along with him.

“She is evil and has problems,” is what the man told the writer of a pre-sentence report of why he thinks the girl lied.

Crown counsel Nashina Devji said the man does not want to be held accountable, surrounds himself with people who blame the victim and effectively was the cause of a breakdown in the relationship between the girl and her mother. Devji said the girl did not have contact with her mother since the charges were laid and saw her for the first time in court when the mother came to support the man accused of the sex crimes.

“He doesn’t express remorse for the girl … he is entitled, self-centred and conceded most about the impact on him, his restrictions as opposed to the impact on anyone else,” said Devji.

The pre-sentence report did not suggest the man be put in jail. Devji disagreed with that summation, saying rehab is not the only goal in this type of offence, and deterrence must be a primary consideration.

“He destroyed a life for his own depraved pleasure,” she said, while calling for a jail term of seven years for the man.

Defense counsel James Pennington said weight should be given to the psychiatrist in the pre-sentence report who suggested incarceration shouldn’t be considered, and that counselling would better benefit him.

The judge is expected to come back with her decision on sentencing on June 24.