An Alma, P.E.I., man has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail for sexually assaulting a Prince County woman in 2018.
Matthew Leo Dunbar, 34, was found guilty earlier this month. He’d also pleaded guilty to related charges of driving while prohibited and breaching a court order.
Crown attorney, Chris White, had asked for a six-and-a-half-year prison term. Dunbar’s lawyer, Morgan Watts, argued that a three-to-four-year sentence was more appropriate.
“We as a society have seen a groundswell of social revulsion (regarding) sexual violence being perpetrated against others, particularly female members of our society,” said White.
“Sentences for various sexual assaults of the kind before the court must actively communicate that shared communal perspective, that violating the sexual integrity of other people for personal gratification is something which attracts the highest level of judicial condemnation.”
In terms of mitigating factors, Watts noted that his client has the support of his family and is considered a hard-working employee.
In a strongly worded decision, Justice Terri MacPherson concluded that Dunbar's actions were deserving of the higher end of the recommended sentencing spectrum.
MacPherson said that the victim showed "an incredible amount of strength," and that Dunbar's actions showed a disregard for anyone but himself.
“The safety of the community requires that Mr. Dunbar be removed from it for an extended period of time,” said MacPherson.
Dunbar’s victim, plus one other person, submitted impact statements to the court but declined to read them out loud. However, the court heard that the victim has suffered several negative life-altering events directly related to the attack.
Dunbar read a short apology to the court.
He has been in custody for one day short of a full year. MacPherson concluded that he was entitled to time and a half credit for the time he's already spent in custody, which equalled 546 days. Dunbar's name will also be added to the national sex offender registry and once he's released from prison, he will be prohibited from driving for three years.
REPUTATION IN THE COMMUNITY
During the trial, the court heard that on the day of the offence the accused was visiting a home in Prince County. He and the victim were the only adults in the home at the time, though there were children sleeping in another part of the house.
She testified that Dunbar lured her into a room, overpowered and raped her.
The court also heard that she was nervous of having Dunbar in the home because of his reputation in the community regarding women. She kept in contact with friends via text throughout the evening as a precaution. Her last message was a call for help.
Dunbar testified that the sex was consensual, and it was actually the victim who initiated it.
Justice MacPherson deemed the victim’s testimony credible while finding Dunbar’s was not and found him guilty.
Dunbar has a criminal record that encompasses most of his adult life, including another count of sexual assault from 2016. In that case, Dunbar entered a home and sexually touched two young girls.