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Dangerous-offender hearing opens in Halifax for repeat sex offender Obed

Sem Paul Obed is led into Halifax provincial court Monday to face charges in connection with a sexual assault on a woman Friday. THE CHRONICLE HERALD
Repeat sex offender Sem Paul Obed is being sentenced for breaking into a Halifax woman's apartment and raping her in June 2018. The Crown has applied to have Obed declared a dangerous offender and locked up indefinitely. - Eric Wynne

Acccused is originally from Hopedale in Labrador

HALIFAX, N.S. —

A dangerous-offender hearing got underway Tuesday for a man who broke into a Halifax woman’s apartment and raped her in June 2018.

Sem Paul Obed is being sentenced in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on charges of break and enter, aggravated sexual assault, choking to overcome resistance, and breaching a 2016 peace bond by consuming or possessing alcohol.

Obed, 50, pleaded guilty to the four charges just over a year ago.



The Crown wants Obed, who has a history of committing violent offences, declared a dangerous offender and imprisoned indefinitely for the protection of the public.

Justice Robert Wright is presiding at the hearing, which is set for five days now and five more days in April.

Crown attorneys Carla Ball and Sean McCarroll opened the hearing by tendering about a dozen exhibits containing thousands of pages of documents about Obed. Their first witness was Dr. Grainne Neilson, a forensic psychiatrist at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth who prepared a dangerous-offender assessment on Obed for the court last summer.

Originally from Hopedale, N.L., Obed has almost 40 other criminal convictions going back to the 1980s, including two for sexual assault.

He also has convictions for attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, assault, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, break and enter, trespassing at night, theft, property mischief and breaching court orders.


Sem Paul Obed appears in Halifax provincial court in 2008. - The Chronicle Herald
Sem Paul Obed appears in Halifax provincial court in 2008. - The Chronicle Herald


Police issued high-risk offender notifications about Obed in 1999 and 2014 after he was released from prison and moved to Halifax.

The Crown obtained a two-year peace bond against Obed in Dartmouth provincial court in August 2016.

The latest incident happened on the morning of June 1, 2018, when a woman who lived near the Halifax Common woke up to find Obed standing beside her bed, wearing only a ball cap and basketball sneakers.

Obed knew the woman’s roommate, who was out of town at the time.

The woman, whose identity is protected, tried to fight Obed off, but he punched and choked her before sexually assaulting her. The victim estimated the attack lasted more than an hour.

Obed told the woman that if she called the cops after he left, “I’m going to find you.” He whispered “bye, take care” in her ear as he left and said her roommate had his number if she wanted to call him.

Police arrested Obed that afternoon at about 4:30 at his apartment on McFatridge Road in Halifax. He had the victim’s blood on his face.

Obed, who is represented by lawyer Brad Sarson, claims he was highly intoxicated when he broke into the residence and doesn’t remember everything that happened.

Neilson testified Obed didn’t deny his various offences when she met with him but described them in a passive way and attributed some of them to alcohol. Obed admitted alcohol sometimes wasn’t a factor, she said, which makes his behaviour “more concerning.”

She said Obed’s victims have been both male and female, from children to seniors.

“It makes it difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy who’s going to be the next victim,” Neilson said.

She said Obed displays some antisocial personality traits and high-risk factors but doesn’t meet the criteria for a psychopath.

Neilson is expected to continue testifying Wednesday and Thursday.

The prosecutors plan to call evidence from five or six witnesses in total.

If Obed is designated a dangerous offender, he will receive an indeterminate prison sentence unless the court believes a lesser penalty would adequately protect the public. The lesser punishment would be a determinate sentence with or without long-term supervision in the community for up to 10 years after his release.


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