LETHBRIDGE – A significant step, one way or another, should be taken when a 21-year-old man convicted of aggravated sexual assault returns to court next month.
An Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) assessment has been completed for the man – who cannot be named as he was 17 when he entered a south side apartment, sexually assaulted a 45-year-old woman, then cut her throat and fled the scene. He was found guilty on March 21, following a lengthy trial that took place in stages over parts of three years.
IRCS is reserved for youths suffering from a mental illness or disorder, psychological disorder or an emotional disturbance and who have been convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, or aggravated sexual assault. It involves a team of experts working with the individual to examine numerous of areas of their life, and then developing a treatment plan that will best prepare them to rejoin society.
With the assessment now complete, Judge Greg Maxwell, who found the young man guilty, will be tasked with reviewing it and determining whether it constitutes an appropriate sentence. Should Maxwell agree that it’s the right option when the matter returns to court Dec. 20, then the man will begin the program.
However, should he disagree, sentencing could go in a very different direction. Prior to conviction, Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich had long stated that they intended to seek an adult sentence for the youth, if he was found guilty, and reaffirmed that after the conviction. Following a psychological assessment for the man, she noted that they may change their position, based on the IRCS assessment. Wednesday, Nov. 7, Weich stated that they have yet to make that determination.
Judge Maxwell found the man guilty of aggravated sexual assault, break and enter to commit sexual assault, threats to cause death, and unlawful confinement at the conclusion of the trial in March. He also found him not guilty of attempted murder.
Maxwell determined that sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. on May 3, 2015, the man entered a south side apartment in Lethbridge that was owned by the victim’s stepfather. He found her sleeping on the couch and proceeded to sexually assault her. When the woman’s step-father woke up and confronted him, the youth dragged her outside at knife point, continued the sexual assault, then cut her throat and fled the scene.
While she survived the 14 cm cut to her throat, both the woman and her step-father died of unrelated causes prior to the trial.
They were however, able to provide statements to the Lethbridge Police Service in the hours after the attack, and the victim’s step-father identified the youth by name – it was a different first name but same last one – also providing a description of the man and his address. A search of the youth’s nearby home turned up a shirt that had the victim’s DNA on it.
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