A 20-year-old Labrador man was sentenced on Oct. 9 to three years in prison for sexually assaulting a young teen in 2018.
The man, whose name is being withheld to avoid identifying the victim, was found guilty earlier this summer following a trial where he admitted to fabricating an alibi to try to throw off police. He had also initially denied having sex with the victim, who was 14 at the time of the assault, and later changed his story when challenged with physical evidence, claiming the sex was consensual.
The court ruled otherwise.
The defendant had driven the girl to a secluded area and forced himself upon her while she asked him to stop.
Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Frances Knickle said in her decision she didn’t find the defendant credible and that he knew the sexual intercourse wasn’t consensual and had continued despite explicit objections from the girl.
A pre-sentence report was done on the man, which showed he didn’t feel the court’s ruling had been correct and maintains his innocence. Knickle stressed the lack of remorse isn’t an aggravating factor during sentencing, but showing remorse can be a significant mitigating factor.
“It can be a mitigating factor because the presence of remorse shows insight into the criminal conduct and acceptance of responsibility,” she said. “Insight and acceptance of responsibility is an important step for an offender on the road to rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”
Knickle said when considering the sentence, she had taken many factors into account, including the impact on the victim, the ages of both the girl and the man, and the need for public denunciation of such crimes.
While there would not have been the kind of power imbalance that would exist between a young child and an adult, she said, the circumstances gave him power over the teenage girl.
Since he was driving and had taken her to a secluded area, Knickle said, it wasn’t as simple as her getting out of the car and walking away.
“They were far from their community, in the month of March, in a northern area of the province. In this way, (he) exercised control and there was an imbalance of power between the two.”
In addition to the three-year sentence, the defendant was also ordered to give a DNA sample and have his name added to the national sex offender registry, and he is banned from owning a firearm for 10 years upon his release.