A Surrey man who sexually molested his young stepdaughter has lost an appeal of his eight-year prison sentence, which his counsel had argued was “demonstrably unfit.”
He cannot be identified because there is a publication ban on any information that could identify his victim. The man was convicted of sexually assaulting and sexually touching the girl when she was ages 6 and 7, and in Grades 6,7,8 and 9, in the 1980s and 1990s.
Justice Kenneth Ball convicted the man on June 6, 2014, after an eight-day trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Three B.C. Court of Appeal judges in Vancouver heard that the man had told police “…I don’t think it is fair that someone should have to go to jail for sexually assaulting his own child. The police shouldn’t even get involved. The family can work it out on their own…”
Following his lawyer’s sentencing submissions after the trial, he told the court “…My life has been ruined for eight years now, nine years because of this. You want to ruin it for another eight years, that’s despicable.”
Responding to the stepfather’s remarks, Judge Ball had this to say: “He said she had forgotten, which to anyone viewing her testimony in court, was the furthest thing from the truth. He expressed no appreciation for the harm he had caused nor any need to address by way of rehabilitation the underlying motivation for this remarkably abusive behaviour that he exhibited while in a position of trust for a child whose childhood he had destroyed by making her home a place of fear and loathing rather than a place of safety and comfort.”
At appeal, the man’s lawyer argued that Ball had “focussed on denunciation and deterence to the point that he ignored rehabilitation, which led him to impose an unreasonably high and thus unfit sentence,” Appeal Court Justice Gail Dickson noted in her reasons for judgment. The man’s lawyer submitted that three years was a fit sentence.
Dickson disagreed. “In my view, the judge did not ignore or undervalue rehabilitation in exercising his discretion,” she said. Rather, she added, the sentencing judge “reasonably treated” the stepfather’s “absence of interest in rehabilitation, lack of insight and utter failure to accept responsibility for his offending actions as removing a potential mitigating factor.”
She also found “the emphasis he placed on denunciation and deterrence was also entirely proper.”
Dickson upheld the eight-year sentence, with Justices Harvey Groberman and Nicole Garson concurring.