Nunavut man gets 18-month sentence for sex with underage relative

Judge underlines “the importance of rehabilitation of the accused as a member of the community”

By JANE GEORGE

A Nunavut man will serve 16 more months in jail for his sexual assault of a teenaged girl in 2013. (FILE PHOTO)


A Nunavut man will serve 16 more months in jail for his sexual assault of a teenaged girl in 2013. (FILE PHOTO)

A 31-year-old Nunavut man who pleaded guilty to having sex with the 15-and-a-half-year-old sister of his common-law wife will spend 16 more months in jail.

That sentence came after his plea on two charges, sexual assault and sexual interference, in relation to events that occurred April 19, 2013, when J.Q. admitted to sexual intercourse with the teenaged complainant when they were both heavily intoxicated.

In a judgment, Nunavut Justice B.R. Burrows states that the offences took place in J.Q.’s home while his common-law wife, the complainant’s sister, who was also heavily intoxicated, lay sleeping in another room.

The complainant had become intoxicated through drinking hard liquor provided to her by her sister, before J.Q. arrived at the home. J.Q. had become intoxicated while visiting a friend, the court judgment said.

Burrows explained in his 19-page March 25 judgment on the reasons for the sentence that the full sentence handed to J.Q. was 18 months, with credit for of two months.

That is, Burrows decided to grant him a credit on a one to 1.5 basis for the 42 days during which J.Q spent at the Baffin Correctional Centre — “in facilities notorious for their poor condition,” Burrows said.

That sentence was much shorter than the penalty recommended by the Crown: 3.5 to 4.5 years.

The Crown sought to prove, as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes, that J.Q. had forced himself on the complainant — and that she had not consented to the sexual intercourse.

Because of her age, he was guilty of sexual assault whether or not she consented.

The Crown alleged that J.Q. had taken the complainant to the bedroom against her will, removed her clothes despite her objections, ignored her verbal request that he stop, and held her hands behind her back while the sexual intercourse occurred.

Among those reasons: “the complainant’s evidence at trial and her police statement were not consistent as to how she got to the bedroom where the sexual intercourse occurred and as to the position of her hands during the intercourse.”

But Burrows rejected that lack of consent was an aggravating factor. That must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.

“I was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

And he took J.Q.’s guilty plea as “a significant mitigating factor.” He also underlined “the importance of rehabilitation of the accused as a member of the community in which he is practically obliged to live following his release from custody.”

However, Burrows also noted that the complainant said in court that her relationships with her sister and other members of her family, in particular her grandmother and her aunts, were severely damaged following their learning that the sexual intercourse had taken place.

“On the date of the sentencing hearing, February 12, 2015, some 22 months after the event, the complainant and her sister were still estranged. I understand the complainant’s relations with other relatives have also not been rehabilitated. The complainant testified that she would like to have the same relationships with her family members as she had before. The complainant’s sister has forgiven Mr. J.Q. Their family unit consisting of Mr. J.Q., the complainant’s sister, and their three children, is intact.”

For his sentence, Burrows followed the recommendation of J.Q’s defence lawyer, Tamara Fairchild, of 18 months followed by one-year probation.

He’ll also be registered as a sex offender and supply a DNA sample, not communicate with the complainant directly or indirectly while he is serving the custodial period of his sentence and pay $200 as a “victim’s surcharge.”

But he will be able to use firearms.

You can read the entire reasons for the judgment here:

2015_NUCJ_09_RvJQ.pdf

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