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SENTENCING - Sexual offences - Offence involving breach of trust

Friday, July 12, 2019 @ 6:26 AM  

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Appeal by the Crown from sentence of six and one-half years’ imprisonment less six months’ credit for time served for convictions for 102 sexual offences against 18 young boys. The offences were committed over a 20-year period. The respondent pleaded guilty to indecent assault, gross indecency, and sexual assault. He preyed upon boys who were vulnerable. He acquired a series of positions of trust to gain access to young boys. The respondent groomed his victims, providing them with hockey sticks and sports memorabilia, promising to introduce them to Toronto Maple Leaf players, taking them to movies and hockey games, all with a view to gaining an opportunity to abuse them. The impact of the respondent’s offending has been sustained and profound. The respondent had an extensive record of similar behaviour. He was sentenced in 1998 for similar offences committed during the same time frame in which he committed the offences in this case. The sentencing judge accepted that denunciation and deterrence demanded a lengthy period of incarceration in this case. Based on an expert opinion that the respondent had a very low to low risk for future sexual offence, the trial judge concluded that a lengthy period of incarceration was not necessary to protect the public. The respondent lived in the community without incident since he completed a six-year sentence in 2001. He continued to take medication to control his sexual urges and worked with a community-based organization that helped him to avoid re-offending.

HELD: Appeal allowed. Sentence was increased to 10 years’ imprisonment less credit for time served. The sentence imposed was demonstrably unfit. The respondent occupied a position of trust when he perpetrated his abuse, and he perpetrated that abuse on a regular and persistent basis over a substantial period. The harm caused by this abuse was not to be discounted because it involved sexual activity other than intercourse. The magnitude and gravity of the respondent’s offending required a penitentiary sentence in the low to mid double-digit range. Nothing less met the need for denunciation and deterrence in these circumstances. It was inappropriate to adjust the sentence in this case because the respondent committed the offences during a period in which he committed other offences for which he had already been punished in 1998. The 1998 sentence was not to be considered as forming a part of, or mitigating, the sentence to be imposed. Sentence: Nine and one-half years’ imprisonment.

R. v. Stuckless, [2019] O.J. No. 3210, Ontario Court of Appeal, P.S. Rouleau, S.E. Pepall and G. Huscroft JJ.A., June 18, 2019. Digest No. TLD-July82019015