Family members sat quietly as the man who pleaded guilty to the vicious attack of a Penticton woman in 2011 entered the courtroom to begin his sentencing and dangerous offender hearing on Monday.
David Wesley Bobbitt is a man, however, that the victim will not have to see as Justice Peter Rogers sided with the Crown’s application to have the woman appear via closed-circuit TV to provide evidence. Bobbitt pleaded guilty to several charges including forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and sexual assault stemming from the July long weekend attack. It was when a 22-year-old woman and her toddler son, whose names are protected by court order, were held inside Dave’s Second Hand Store for over 10 hours.
Crown co-counsel Nashina Devji provided Rogers with a letter from a counsellor explaining how the victim would most likely “suffer trauma and flashbacks” if she was to testify in front of Bobbitt. The victim’s mother also provided evidence.
“For months after, she wasn’t able to put her baby in her car because she thought someone might come behind her when she turned her back. She would ask me to watch to make sure someone doesn’t come behind her,” she said.
Despite Bobbitt being in jail, the mother said her daughter would constantly have to be brought out of thoughts of him, or his friends or family, coming after her.
She said her daughter’s anxiety is so high that even seeing Bobbitt’s photo in the newspaper caused her to freeze and panic.
“She told me herself she thinks she would shut down … I have no doubt she would shut down,” said the mother.
Crown also put forward a schedule of how they expect things to move along over the next few weeks, as well as applications to have two other witnesses appear via closed-circuit TV.
Devji said she expects to call a number of civilian witnesses to testify about Bobbitt’s patterns of behaviour, including RCMP officers, a doctor that is a court appointed expert, a sexual assault nurse and the victim.
Defence counsel James Pennington had applications approved to be provided police database information on two of the witnesses, one of whom told RCMP in 2007 that Bobbitt confined her in his trailer and raped her.
Bobbitt was arrested but never formally charged. in his submissions, Pennington said it was believed the woman also filed sexual assault complaints on others that resulted in no charges being laid and had a pattern of this which could break her credibility. Rogers also allowed the video statement Bobbitt made to RCMP after he was arrested in 2007 into evidence for the hearing.
In it Bobbitt said the sex was consensual and claimed only to be holding the woman tightly. The woman had choke marks on her neck, injured her nose and bruises on her body.
“I’m not perfect, but I would never hurt her,” Bobbitt said in the video.
The complainant told RCMP that Bobbitt ripped her clothes off, forced himself on her and kept her in his trailer for hours until finally he agreed to let her leave.
She said he then followed her to a nearby store, where she received help by telling the owner that she had been sexually assaulted and to call police.
The sentencing and dangerous offender hearing will run until at least July 8, with a continuation expected to be in September.