The Calgary Sun reported that a Newfoundland judge, Wayne Gorman felt bound to give the sexual abuser of a 14-year-old a year sentence. He gave a shorter prison sentence than he considered to be appropriate because he felt obliged to accept a joint Crown-defence submission for only four years.
The man, who is 36 years old, has been found guilty of exchanging explicit images with a 14-year-old girl. He then engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse with her months later while she was intoxicated.
Judge Gorman, who works at the Corner Brook provincial court, said that due to the disturbing nature of the crime, a seven-year sentence would’ve have been the most suitable decision, however a joint submission from the defence and Crown decided upon a 4-year sentence instead. Despite his disagreement with the length of the sentence, Gorman wrote that he “felt bound to accept the joint submission”.
Labelling the crime as disturbing is an understatement. The sentencing decision describes that the offender met and pursued a relationship with the girl, who is 14 years of age. The two sent one another several sexually explicit photos over the widely used social media application Snapchat.
The offender repeatedly began telling the girl how much he loved her, expressing his desire to eventually marry her.
Months later, the two had intercourse in the man’s car after he gave her both alcohol and tobacco.
Despite pleading guilty, the man did not understand the severity of the crimes he committed and constantly referred to himself as being the victim in the situation. Judge Gorman also noted that although pleading guilty, the man continuously rejected the notion that the girl was the victim.
Gorman stated that “His blaming of her for what occurred causes me great concern as regards any prospects for rehabilitation and it illustrates the need to remove (him) from society”.
The joint Crown-defence submission decision cited legal precedent and guidelines by the Supreme Court. It noted that Judges should accept joint submissions unless the terms are so absurd that any rational and reasonable person would conclude that the justice system has effectively collapsed. Judge Gorman found that it was highly unlikely that the submission would lead to Canadians thinking the justice system was broken.