Judge considers seriousness of crime, prospects for rehabilitation
Jeremy Branton speaks to his lawyer, Ken Hollett,
before being led out of provincial court in St. John’s by a sheriff’s officer Tuesday morning.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
Jeremy Branton has had a troubled sexual history.
He was sexually assaulted by his uncle as a child, exhibited improper sexual behaviour towards other kids while growing up and went on to commit sexual crimes.
But in sentencing the 20-year-old for his latest sex crime, a St. John’s judge took into consideration Branton’s future as well as his past.
Judge Lori Marshall sentenced Branton to a 10-month jail term and three years’ probation for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy last summer.
With straight-time credit for the 132 days he’s spent in custody, he has just more than five months left on his term.
His probation conditions include that he have no contact with the victim and that, for the next 10 years, he stay away from any public area where people under 16 might be.
Branton was arrested July 26. According to the facts of the case, he had bought a teen cigarettes and brought him to his residence, where he exposed himself to the boy and attempted anal sex.
He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and breaching probation. Charges of invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference were withdrawn by the Crown.
The sentence is less than the three-year term Crown prosecutor Glynn Faulkner had suggested.
She had noted Branton had just been sentenced in May of this year to 30 days in jail after he was convicted of sexual interference, also involving a person under 16.
Defence lawyer Ken Hollett had suggested a sentence of under two years.
In making her decision, Marshall took into account Branton’s pre-sentence report, which found him at high risk to reoffend.
She also considered his background and the chances of his rehabilitation.
“I have to impress upon you, your behaviour is absolutely unacceptable” Marshall said.
“It’s not going to be tolerated by society and it’s not going to be tolerated by this court.
“If you are engaging in the sexual assault of minors, you have to realize you’re facing significant jail time.”
Marshall said while she recognizes the importance of denunciation and deterrence, Branton’s circumstances must also be considered, and his need to be rehabilitated in order to prevent him from reoffending.
She pointed out that Branton had expressed a desire to get counselling and to take medication for his attention deficit and hyperactivity deficit (ADHD) disorder, which would help control his impulses.
As part of the sentence, Branton must submit a DNA sample, is banned from having a firearm for 10 years and his name will be placed on Canada’s sex offender registry for the next 99 years.
He must also take advantage of any counselling sessions recommended by his probation officer, and participate in cognitive skills upgrading, which Marshall said would help him find a job and “get on with a normal life.”
She said several such conditions were placed on Branton when he was sentenced in May, “but, for reasons not explained to me, that was never followed up.”
Marshall warned Branton to stay out of trouble or else the court will render a stiffer sentence next time.