September 26, 2013 - 10:45 AM
"HE'S CREATING A WEB OF COMPULSION... THAT IS ALMOST UNIMAGINABLY DEVASTATING TO HIS VICTIMS."
VERNON - A man who lured girls over the internet, extorted nude photos of them, and was in the possession of child pornography won't be going back to jail if his defense lawyer gets his way.
Connor Dee, 28, pleaded guilty to 13 charges, two of which were stayed. The Crown and defense in the case have submitted a joint submission to the judge, asking for two years in jail. Dee has spent 565 days in prison, and while the Crown is asking his time served be credited one to one (leaving 166 more days), the defense is asking for time and a half, which would mean he had already finished his time. But the provincial court judge tasked with deciding Dee's sentence thought two years seemed "very low" for such serious offenses aginst young girls.
“It’s an important decision for a variety of reasons,” Judge Mayland McKimm, who requires two weeks to form his decision, said.
Dee sat stone-faced and motionless during the court proceedings, once asking for a glass of water.
Crown lawyer Cristina Cabulea said Dee’s young age and potential for rehabilitation was considered in the two year jail submission, though the Crown’s own witness—a psychiatric doctor—said Dee is at a high risk to reoffend. The defense labelled the doctor an “advocate” for the Crown.
Defense lawyer Jonathan Avis said Dee is remorseful for what happened and “wishes he could take back all his offending behaviour.” Dee was adopted as a baby, and lived with his family in the Yukon area and then in Pritchard, near Kamloops. He lived in Vernon for five or six years before he was arrested. He has not completed his high school education and has a young son.
Dee’s offenses stretch back to 2007 and include extorting nude photographs from girls as young as 11, sexually interfering with a person under 16, and communicating via computer to lure a child. His victims include girls aged 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17 years old, most of them from the Central and North Okanagan. He told the girls if they refused to send him more images of their naked bodies, he would post other images in his possession online or around town.
McKimm drew a parallel between Dee’s interactions with the five victims associated with this case and the tragic death of Rehtaeh Parsons, who committed suicide after an alleged gang rape and the online distribution of photographs of the assault.
“What is most aggravating is that he’s creating a web of compulsion through the use of these internet websites that is almost unimaginably devastating to his victims... You can imagine the person feels totally and utterly helpless,” McKimm said.
Dee has been in solitary confinement in jail due to threats of harm from other inmates. While this arrangement was done to protect Dee, the defense argues these “restrictive” conditions entitle him to less time in jail by earning him “time and a half” for the days he has already served. Avis added court delays—including Crown counsel having to step down due to a conflict of interest—since December 13 when Dee pleaded guilty also qualify him for time and a half.
The Crown is asking for a lifetime ban on the use of internet, and a one to one credit of time served. McKimm challenged the Crown to bring forward previous, similar cases where an accused has been incarcerated for only two years.
“How do I support the work done by counsel when the case law doesn’t support it?” he said.
McKimm will deliver the sentence at least two weeks from now, at the earliest availability of Crown and defense.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013