Judge rejects sentencing submission for Kamloops man who had sexual relationship with underage neighbour

KAMLOOPS - A sentencing recommendation for a Kamloops man in his 60s — who has pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with his underage neighbour — has been rejected by a Supreme Court judge.

Egregious facts and a breach of trust are the reasons why Supreme Court judge Dev Dley rejected a joint-submission from both Crown and defence lawyers today, Jan. 10, in Kamloops.

Crown prosecutor Catriona Elliott and defence lawyer Micah Rankin asked the court yesterday, Jan. 9, during the hearing to consider a one-year prison sentence for a man in his 60s who had a sexual relationship with his 14-year-old neighbour.

The man cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.

Elliott told court the victim's mother found text messages on her daughter's cell phone in 2015, depicting a year long sexual relationship with the man next door.

At the time of this discovery, the girl was 17 and the man was 61. Their relationship began in January 2013 and was ongoing until the mother discovered the text messages.

While hearing the facts yesterday, Judge Dev Dley pointed out several times there was a breach of trust. Court heard the man would babysit the victim's younger siblings, but the victim would go to his house with them.

Rankin said the accused was not in a position of power considering the victim was not being directly babysat by the accused. In his submissions today, he suggested there was an element of consent in fact, although legally there could be no consent given.

"I'm troubled, Mr. Rankin, by your comment that you regarded as a mitigating factor an element of consent in fact," Dley told him.

Dley said it seemed suggested that the victim was somehow a "willing participant" although she was underage.

"It doesn't make it acceptable," Rankin said.

Dley said the period of grooming the victim before a sexual relationship began was concerning. Court heard the relationship began when the victim was 14 and when she turned 15 the two began having intercourse.

"The victim was groomed when she was 14," Dley said. "The accused was a neighbour. It is apparent that he was a trusted friend of the family.

"I expressed my concern that there was a breach of trust. I continue to hold that view. I do not accept the joint submission."

Lawyers are expected to meet again in two weeks to decide where to go from here. Dley said the accused has the option of withdrawing his guilty plea.

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