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The Crown plans to apply for a dangerous-offender assessment for a Halifax man who has admitted sexually abusing three girls over a 12-year period.
William James Martin, 66, pleaded guilty recently in Halifax provincial court to eight charges: three counts of sexual interference, four counts of invitation to sexual touching and one of possessing child pornography.
The offences were committed between 2008 and 2020 in Halifax. The victims’ identities are protected by a publication ban.
According to an agreed statement of facts read into the record by Crown attorney Sean McCarroll, two of the girls were between 5 and 10 years of age when they were molested by Martin. The third girl was between 4 and 6.
“Throughout the years, Mr. Martin engaged in sexual activity with each of the three girls on multiple occasions in multiple ways,” McCarroll told the court. “He subjected them to child pornography and had them perform sexual acts on him.”
One of the girls informed her parents March 11, 2020, that Martin had been inappropriate with her. Halifax Regional Police, in conjunction with a Department of Community Services case worker, interviewed the girl a week later.
Martin was arrested March 28, 2020, and confessed to molesting the girl. He also admitted being in possession of a large quantity of child pornography.
He was released by police on an undertaking and a promise to appear in court. He was re-arrested April 20 on charges of abusing a second girl, and charges involving the third child were added later.
Police seized a number of electronic devices during a search of Martin’s residence when he was first arrested. A forensic analysis completed in June 2020 identified 663 images and videos of child pornography.
McCarroll said the material included photographs of young girls and boys being assaulted by men. Some of the children in the images were infants.
Martin has two previous convictions for sexual assault, both in Dartmouth provincial court for incidents involving the same girl between January 2002 and October 2004. He received a one-year conditional sentence in July 2005 for those offences, followed by two years’ probation.
McCarroll gave notice that the Crown intends to apply to have Martin undergo an assessment to see if he meets the criteria to be declared a dangerous offender.
The prosecutor will update Judge Elizabeth Buckle on efforts to find an expert to perform the assessment when the case returns to court April 28.
Martin, who has been in custody for almost a year, appeared in court via a video link from jail. He's represented by Halifax lawyer Peter Planetta.
Seven other charges against Martin are expected to be withdrawn, including three counts of sexual assault and two counts each of providing sexually explicit material to a child and accessing child pornography.