June 18, 2013 - 7:05 PM
PENTICTON — A convicted child predator who tricked a boy into bed should serve three to four years in prison, according to Crown counsel.
John Swanson said Rene Mark Burke, 56, is guilty of touching a young person for sexual purpose, fear of sexual offence to person under 14 and two breaches of recognizance. Burke appeared in Penticton provincial court today via video. He was wheeled into view sitting on a wheelchair and had a bottle of water and an inhaler with him.
Swanson said Burke has not only been convicted of sex crimes he also immediately violated the rules of his release when out on bail. The Crown wants provincial court Judge Meg Shaw to consider a sentence of 36 to 48 months for the sex offences and for Burke to serve an additional six months for two breaches of recognizance.
Swanson also wanted Shaw to consider Burke's criminal record. He said Burke was arrested in Ontario for "sexual exploitation and gross indecency." It is not known if Burke has been convicted.
The case against Burke began when the victim's father, who cannot be named to protect his son's identity, when the boy's father discovered that Burke got the boy transferred from one school to another. Swanson said the boy's father was shocked.
Swanson said Burke wooed the then-16-year-old boy with drugs, alcohol and lies. Burke convinced the teen to share a bed with him on five or six occasions. He claimed he was a millionaire and the teen would benefit if he stayed with him. He even created an online persona, Blue Eyes, which he used to threaten the boy.
After being arrested and charged, he immediately violated his bail conditions by contacting the boy.
"Burke was paying no attention at all to his recognizance," Swanson said.
The Crown pointed out Burke has been in custody for 19 months but he should not get credit for time served as he violated his recognizance.
Defence lawyer James Pennington said his client has acknowledged responsibility, has served his time and has serious medical problems. When his health was better, Burke worked in prison. "He is now in segregation on a 23-hour lockdown," Pennington said, because of "circumstances." The lawyer did not elaborate.
Burke also spared the criminal court system, the victim and the victim's family a trial process by pleading guilty. The convicted man declined to speak when offered by Shaw.
The judge will consider what Burke's sentence will be and a date for sentencing will be set on Friday.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013