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Judge goes below mandatory minimum in sentencing Northern Peninsula man

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CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

NOTE: Article contains graphic content

A Northern Peninsula man convicted of sexually assaulting his grandson has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

The sentence was handed down in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Feb. 13 by Justice Daniel Boone.

The 66-year-old man who cannot be identified due to a publication ban had originally been convicted of sexual interference and a sexual assault charge was stayed.

Prior to sentencing, the Crown applied to vacate the stay on the sexual assault charge and have the conviction entered on that charge and to stay the sexual interference charge.

Boone agreed saying in his written decision that the elements of the sexual assault charge were established on the evidence.

During the trial the court heard that the sexual assault occurred between June 2014 and January 2015 when the man and his grandson slept in the same bed during a visit to the home of relative.

The now 15-year-old boy testified he awoke during the night to find his grandfather had his hand down his pyjama pants and was pulling on his penis.

The incident lasted about five minutes and stopped when the boy rolled over on his stomach.

The same thing happened later in the night and this time for about a minute. The boy told the court he got up and left the room and was confused by the incident.

A sexual assault conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail.

The man submitted that was unconstitutional and should be struck down as a previous decision of the court, R. v. MacLean in 2018, declared the mandatory sentencing provision of no force and effort.

The defence argued it was not open for the Crown to seek the mandatory minimum or for the court to apply it. The defence sought a sentence of between four and nine months in jail, followed by a period of probation.

The Crown submitted that Boone was not bound by a previous decision of the court and the question of constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentencing provision will not be settled in this province until a decision of the Court of Appeal is rendered.

The Crown has appealed the MacLean decision.

It sought a sentence in the range of 18–24 months, followed by three years’ probation.

After reviewing the issue, Boone found he should impose sentence without consideration of the mandatory minimum.

He concluded that eight months, followed by two years of probation would be appropriate.

In addition, the man is to have no contact with the boy or other members of his family and stay away from his place of residence, schooling or employment; he must report immediately to supervisor upon his release from jail, and thereafter as required; take any counselling recommended by his supervisor, with particular attention to counselling with regard to the commission of sexual offences and refrain from the use of alcohol.

The man will also be subject to a firearms prohibition for 10 years, has to submit a sample of his DNA and must comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for a period of 20 years.

Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

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