A Surrey man who drugged his victims before sexually assaulting and/or robbing them, should spend another four years in prison, say Crown prosecutors.
Steven Beszedes initially faced 24 criminal charges, but in March, pleaded guilty to 15 of them, including one count of sexual assault, as well as multiple counts of criminal negligence, robbery and administering drugs to commit an indictable offence.
The court heard that Beszedes drugged vulnerable people, mostly sex trade workers and drug addicts, for his own benefit.
During a sentencing hearing in New Westminster Supreme Court on Thursday (Nov. 7), it was revealed that Beszedes, 48, had bought a white powdered drug online. He used it himself and then offered it to others free in the hopes of selling it to them in the future.
His victims, some of whom he knew while others he did not, would smoke, inject or snort the substance and almost instantly fall unconscious. It was then that Beszedes would sexually assault and/or rob them. Many of the women woke up alone, naked or missing clothing, sometimes a day or two later. One awoke behind a dumpster, another was lying between cars in a parking lot, two were in bushes and one in a wooded ravine.
Some had money, purses and jewelry taken.
Beszedes’ sole male victim was a 69-year-old man who had used Craigslist to find a casual sexual encounter. Beszedes and a woman showed up to his Langley motor home. The man was offered drugs, which he did, and immediately passed out. Beszedes and the woman left with a laundry basket full of the man’s belongings, including two laptops, cameras, jewelry, a debit card and credit card.
The man’s landlord found him unconscious and he was taken to hospital, where tests confirmed his urine contained the sedative benzodiazepine – a drug the Crown believes had been administered to Beszedes’ previous victims.
A victim impact statement from the 69-year-old read in court said he can’t put the incident – and the fact that he almost died – out of his mind.
“I no longer trust anyone, especially strangers. No one,” wrote the man.
He said the attack changed his life forever and he isn’t sure he’ll ever recover.
Crown prosecutor Beverley Lane said the incidents took place over at least a two-year period. She said Beszedes crimes were predatory and reckless and noted he left his victims unconscious, often outside where they were unable to protect themselves from the elements or other people.
Lane said Beszedes, who has been in jail for three years, should serve an additional four years. He would receive double credit for time already served.
Defence lawyer Jason Gratl said an additional two years in prison would be better for Beszedes, arguing probation would not be available for anything longer and would be beneficial for his rehabilitation. The longer period of supervision – three years probation following prison – in the community is “critical,” said Gratl.
A psychiatric report said Beszedes tends to act impulsively, lacks self-discipline and is at a moderate risk to reoffend. The report said he justified his actions and lacks insight into his offences, although he seemed “distressed” about the sexual assaults, as opposed to the robberies, which he minimized as routine among drug addicts.
Beszedes is due back in court Dec. 6.