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St. Lunaire-Griquet man sentenced to four months house arrest for sex assault

Justice - SaltWire Network

A 50-year-old St. Lunaire-Griquet man has been sentenced to four months house arrest for sexual assault.

Brad Burden, who was found guilty at trial, appeared in provincial court at St. Anthony Oct. 2 for a sentencing hearing. Crown Prosecutor Trina Simms asked for a six-month conditional sentence followed by six months of probation.

Simms argued that while the actual offence, which was basically unwanted sexual touching, was on the lower end of sexual assault cases, the fact it had occurred after Burden had entered the victim’s home uninvited was an aggravating circumstance.

The prosecutor also referenced a victim impact statement that indicated the woman was profoundly affected by the incident.

A pre-sentence report (PSR), Simms said, was mostly positive and she gave Burden credit for having no prior criminal history, but suggested even under those circumstances a prison term of three to four months was appropriate.

The Crown, however, was willing to have him serve his sentence in the community, but consequently would like the term to be a bit longer, six months.

Simms also submitted a request for restitution of some $1,700 for lost wages saying the victim had to leave work for a period of time because of the assault.

Defence counsel Darby Ashton also described the crime as being on the low end of the scale and asked for a suspended sentence. He said the incident involved brief touching above the clothing, did not involve violence and that his client stopped when asked to do so.

Ashton cited several similar prior cases in which suspended sentences were granted even when the sexual or violent elements of the cases might have been considered greater than the present case.

The defence argued restitution was inappropriate because no evidence was available that the victim’s absence from work was related and no justification for the amount was given.

Judge Catherine Allen-Westby sided with the Crown on the need for a conditional sentence, but not on the duration. She said the aggravating factor of it occurring in the victim’s home made a suspended sentence inappropriate. And, while she agreed with both the Crown and defence that this case was on the low end of the scale, she said all sexual assault is inherently violent.

The judge imposed a four month conditional sentence to be served in the community, followed by six months of probation.

Conditions include remaining within his residence 22 hours a day with two hours outside for chores, errands or exercise; not consuming alcohol or non-prescription drugs; and no contact with the victim.

Allen-Westby also imposed a DNA order, registration in the federal sex-offender database for 10 years and a one-year firearms prohibition.

On restitution, the judge sided with the defence, noting the Court had no way of knowing if the work absence was related to the assault or, if so, how much income was lost.

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