LETHBRIDGE - The lawyer representing a 50-year-old Raymond man on trial on four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of indecent assault, has invited convictions on four of six charges, including three of sexual assault, and one of indecent assault.
But Robert Bissett told the court Thursday, Jan. 24, the stipulation was that the other two charges against him would need to be withdrawn by the Crown.
Bissett argued that the man admitted to incidents occurring over several years with two extended female family members, that he grabbed the buttocks of another female relative for a sexual purpose, but that he was never alone with, or touched the fourth complainant - despite earlier testimony from her in court.
The man can not be named because there is a publication ban in effect, the alleged incidents occurred before he turned 18, about 32 years ago and to protect the identity of the victims.
Crown lawyer Dawn Janecke made it clear it would be seeking jail time for the defendant, however Bissett argued that if his client is found guilty, he should be sentenced under either the Juvenile Delinquents Act (1908-1984) or the Young Offenders Act (1984-2003), instead of the current Youth Criminal Justice Act (2003).
He explained that under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, if a law has changed since the commission of an offence, an offender should receive the benefit of the “lesser punishment” between the old and new law. Three of the charges, he argued, fall under the Juvenile Delinquents Act. Under that act, youth under the age of 18 were not permitted to be sent to jail, only to reform school.
He also told the court that the man sitting before them was not, for the purposes of sentencing, a 50-year-old, but a youth under the age of 18.
Bissett also told the court the man was the first one to report the crimes, admitting them to an LDS Mission President. The women, he said, did not come forward until decades later, only when the man was being considered for a Bishop position, because they felt it was "inappropriate."
The judge told the court he would consider sentencing arguments, and decide on which charges the likely convictions would occur. That decision isn't expected until sometime in February, while sentencing may not occur until after May 15, 2019.
According to Picture Butte RCMP, they were contacted by a victim in September of 2016 who reported that when she was a child, she had been sexually abused by a man known to her. Through their investigation, police say three additional women came forward with allegations that they had suffered similar assaults.
All the alleged offences occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, with incidents beginning when the accused was a youth and continuing into adulthood.
Charges against him include sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.
He is currently out of custody with bail conditions that bar him from having contact with anyone under the age of 18.
The man is also facing charges as an adult, and a trial on those charges involving some of the same complainants is expected to take place in November.
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