Kamloops man avoids deportation after pleading guilty to sexual assault | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man avoids deportation after pleading guilty to sexual assault

A Kamloops man has avoided deportation after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a friend while she was asleep and he was high after eating a cannabis edible.

According to May 19 B.C. Supreme Court decision, the 30-year-old, whose name is redacted in the decision, is originally from India and would have faced deportation if he was convicted.

However, following a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers, the man was given a conditional discharge with two years probation, meaning that as long as he adheres to his probation he will not have a criminal record and therefore avoids deportation.

"The public does not need to be warned about (the accused)," Justice Elizabeth Bennett said in the decision. "(He) exercised poor judgment. He cannot blame the marijuana edible for his actions – it may be an explanation for his behaviour, it is not an excuse."

In the spring of 2020, the man was at the friend's house. She had been drinking and he took a marijuana edible for the first time.

The decision says with her consent, he gave her a foot massage, and then a back massage and then she fell asleep.

"When she awoke (his) hand was on her genitals and on her breast area. The victim immediately told (him) to get away and leave. He stopped, and he did leave," the decision says. "Before leaving, however, he apologized and in doing so blamed his actions on the edible. He later texted the victim to apologize."

The victim then went to the police.

"The accused committed a crime that is all too prevalent," the Justice said.

The decision says the man moved to Canada from India eight years ago and works as a financial advisor. He has no criminal record and was immediately apologetic for the sexual assault.

In a victim impact statement submitted to the court, the victim says the sexual assault has caused her emotional anguish.

"She missed time from work which created financial hardship for her, she lost weight from stress, and she became fearful of leaving the house on her own," the decision says.

While the man has made several attempts to apologize, the victim said she is terrified of his presence.

In justifying the sentence, Justice Bennett says the man pleaded guilty immediately and saved the victim from having to go through the trauma of testifying at trial.

The Justice also highlighted that he was immediately remorseful and apologetic.

However, the Justice said that to suggest that somehow the edible was responsible for his actions only deflects the blame.

"He was in control of the entire chain of events that evening and it all started when he chose to eat the edible," she said.

Ultimately, the Justice accepted the recommendations of the lawyers that the man should not receive a criminal record.

"He has accepted responsibility from the moment the events took place... I appreciate as well that a conviction would likely cause (him) to face deportation," the justice said. "I am therefore satisfied that a conditional discharge would be in the accused’s best interests."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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