Crown calling for maximum three-year term
She was molested by her older half-brother for years as a child.
In all, there were hundreds of incidents of sexual abuse.
She was eight when it started.
On Friday, at her half brother’s sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John’s, the woman had her say about how the abuse has affected her life.
“I have had thoughts of suicide and self-harm,” she wrote in her victim impact statement, which was read in court by Crown prosecutor Lynn Moore. “I would have done anything to escape the thoughts of what happened to me.
“I have had overwhelming feelings of guilt, like this was my fault. I am ashamed of what I was part of. I am extremely embarrassed. I can only remember bad memories of my childhood.”
The man sat quietly in court, as Moore read the three-page letter.
The 30-year-old man’s name is banned from publication because he was a youth when he committed the crimes.
Following a trial, he was found guilty of several charges, including sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and incest. The incidents were said to have happened between 1995 and 2001.
His victims were his two half sisters.
The one who wrote the letter said her life has been a struggle because of what he did.
She said the abuse affected her ability to concentrate in school, her mental health and her social life.
“I have low self-esteem and often have terrible thoughts of being disgusting, feeling that I am unlike anybody else. Sometimes I feel gross, weird and dirty,” she wrote, adding she has spent time in a psychiatric unit. “I still find it difficult to be around people today.”
Moore called it a terrible series of offences.
“This is something that will live with them for the rest of their lives,” Moore said.
“This level of abuse is really horrible and the court must send a strong message that his behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
She said when the man was arrested, he showed little remorse and was actually angry that his sisters were doing this to him.
“I’ve done so much for them,” he had said in his police statement. “This is not cool.”
He told officers that the girls enjoyed the sex acts, and that it wasn’t his fault.
Moore suggested the man be handed the maximum youth sentence of three years. But defence lawyer John Kelly said the Youth Offenders’ Act requires that courts focus on rehabilitation of young offenders.
“We must approach youth offenders differently,” Kelly said. “The needs of the young are distinct from adults.”
He said a pre-sentence report indicates his client is remorseful. He said he has undergone counselling and has met with doctors. Kelly said his client is bipolar and he has insight into his illness. Kelly suggested a lengthy period of probation.
Judge Mike Madden will render his decision Nov. 14.