HALIFAX, N.S. - A Halifax man considered a high risk to reoffend when he was released from prison in the past has asked for a bail hearing on his latest sex-related charges.
Sem Paul Obed, 47, was apprehended by police June 1, a few hours after a man broke into a Halifax residence and raped the female occupant.
Obed is charged with break and enter, choking to overcome resistance, aggravated sexual assault, uttering threats and two counts of breaching a peace bond.
He appeared in Halifax provincial court Wednesday by video link from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.
Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer Brad Sarson told the court he has been assigned to represent Obed.
Sarson said he had just received a disclosure package of evidence from the Crown and needs time to review the material and meet with his client.
At that point, Obed interrupted and said he wanted to speak for himself.
Obed said he hasn’t heard from a lawyer since he last appeared in court June 4 and has yet to see any disclosure.
He said Nova Scotia Legal Aid is in a conflict. When Judge Michael Sherar asked him to explain what he meant by that, Obed replied, “They’re not competent and I don’t trust them.”
Obed said he wants to apply for bail.
The judge refused to let Obed fire his lawyer and scheduled a bail hearing for July 5, after Sarsonreviews the evidence and meets with the accused at the jail.
“Mr. Sarson is going to bring the disclosure to you,” Sherar said. “You’ll have a real live, breathing lawyer with you, sir, and then you’ll come back (to court) on July 5.”
Sarson, who also represented Obed about 20 years ago, refused to comment on the case outside court.
Police received a report June 1 at about 11:50 a.m. that a man had entered a dwelling in the 6000-block of Cunard Street, near the Halifax Common, and sexually assaulted a woman before fleeing.
Obed was arrested late that afternoon at his home on McFatridge Road in Halifax.
Obed was considered a high risk to reoffend in a sexual and violent manner when he wasreleased from prison and took up residence in Halifax in August 2014, police said in a public notification at the time.
In that advisory, police said Obed had a criminal record going back to 1984 that included convictions for attempted murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
In November 1999, police issued a high-risk offender notification after Obed, a native of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., was releasedfrom Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick and headed to Halifax.
Obed had served every day of a 70-month sentence for attempted murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and break and enter. At the time, his record included four violent attacks on women.
In 2000, a Halifax provincial court judge dismissed a Crown application to place Obed on a one-year peace bond, saying there was no “present fear” that he would cause a serious personal injury.
The Crown appealed, but a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge upheld the lower court’s decision.
Obed was later charged with sexually assaulting a woman at his Halifax apartment in June 2005.
He was also charged with a September 2006 sexual assault in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and five counts of sexual assault against a male inmate at the Labrador Correctional Centre in 2007.
The Crown obtained a two-year peace bond against Obed in Dartmouth provincial court in August 2016. The new charges allege he breached two conditions of that bond by failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and by consuming, purchasing or possessing alcohol or drugs.
“Obviously, we’re going to be opposed to Mr. Obed’s release,” Crown attorney Sean McCarroll said Wednesday.
“We’ve reached out to other jurisdictions to gather as much information about him as we possibly can, just so we have it on a go-forward basis.”
If Obed is convicted in this matter, the Crown could seek an assessment of whether he meets the criteria to be declared a longterm offender or a dangerous offender.
“Based on his record, he does meet the criteria, from our perspective,” McCarroll said. “But at this stage we don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse.
“At this stage we’re focused on the file that we have and proving the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.”
~ The Chronicle Herald