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DANGEROUS AND LONG-TERM OFFENDERS - Dangerous offender designation

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 @ 8:47 AM  

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Appeal by 42-year-old Lawrence from his designation in 2012 as a dangerous offender and his sentence of indeterminate imprisonment. The appellant sought to adduce new evidence of his treatability and the benefits he experienced from programming offered by the correctional service. The appellant was designated as a dangerous offender following his convictions for sexual assault and attempting, by choking, to render the complainant incapable of resistance to a sexual assault. His criminal record included three previous sexual assault convictions and two assault convictions. At the dangerous offender hearing, the sentencing judge found the appellant had violent encounters with five women and that the appellant had been difficult to manage in custody. Expert evidence at the hearing conflicted on whether the appellant was treatable.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The new evidence proffered by the appellant did not meet the requisite level of exceptionality. The pace and scale of the appellant’s personal improvement remained matters assigned to the correctional authorities to review and assess. The sentencing judge did not err at the designation stage. He properly turned his mind to the intractability of the appellant’s conduct before designating the appellant as a dangerous offender and conducted a prospective risk analysis. His reference to the expert evidence, along with reference to past and present facts, clearly demonstrated the judge turned his mind to the intractability of the appellant’s conduct and, as a component of that question, the appellant’s treatment prospects or lack thereof. The sentencing judge did not err in his analysis of the penalty provisions. He did not apply an incorrectly high standard in assessing whether a penalty short of an indeterminate sentence could adequately protect the public from violent offending by the appellant. The judge did not fail to consider the viability of a less onerous penalty than the one imposed. Sentence: Indeterminate imprisonment.

R. v. Lawrence, [2019] B.C.J. No. 1460, British Columbia Court of Appeal, M.E. Saunders, N.J. Garson and G. Dickson JJ.A., August 6, 2019. Digest No. TLD-September232019006