A man who raped a teen as she slept has benefited from a plea bargain that will see him serve time in a provincial jail rather than a federal prison.
Justice John Menzies warned the rapist he would likely have received four to five years in a federal prison if not for the deal.
However, the judge said he recognized there were problems with the Crown’s case, and the prosecutor had struck a deal with defence to secure a conviction.
"There was a chance that you may not have been convicted, so they took this deal," Menzies said. "There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the way the system works. Better a conviction than nothing."
Menzies agreed to impose a two-year sentence, minus time served, that will see the offender go to a provincial jail.
"In these circumstances, it’s difficult for a judge to accept a recommendation that you not go to the pen — because this is a rape, period — and you should go the pen," Menzies said. "But you’re not going to, because your lawyer made a deal."
The Brandon Sun is not naming the man, nor the First Nation where the assault occurred, to protect the identity of the girl, who cannot be revealed by law.
The 28-year-old man was scheduled to stand trial in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench this week. Instead, he entered a guilty plea to sexual assault.
The attack happened at a party at a home at a Westman reserve on May 1, 2010.
A 16-year-old girl had fallen asleep in a bedroom and the man, who’d been drinking, entered and laid down beside her.
The girl later awoke to find the man on top of her, raping her.
She was able to get away by saying she needed to use the washroom, but the naked man followed and told her he wanted to continue having sex.
The girl said she wasn’t interested and left the home with her cousin.
However, the victim didn’t go to police for about seven days.
Crown attorney Ron Toews said that delay in making a report to police ultimately led him to reach a plea bargain with defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki.
There was also inconsistent information provided to police and medical staff, and limited co-operation from witnesses who should have been able to corroborate the girl’s account of what happened.
Together, Toews and Sieklicki recommended a sentence of two years jail minus time served.
Noting that he shouldn’t deviate from a joint recommendation without good reason, Menzies imposed the two-year sentence and deducted 13 months time served. That leaves the offender 11 months to serve.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 16, 2014