Randall Hopley, who abducted three-year-old Kienan Hebert last September from his family's home in Sparwood, B.C., learned today that he will be assessed to determine whether he should be labelled a "dangerous offender."
If Hopley, 47, is deemed to be a dangerous offender, he may be subject to an indefinite prison term.
The Crown had requested a 60-day psychiatric assessment of Hopley prior to sentencing in the hopes of having Hopley declared a dangerous offender.
In B.C. Supreme Court in Cranbrook Thursday, defence lawyers argued that because Hebert was returned unharmed, he didn't suffer "severe personal injury," which is the threshold that dangerous offender status requires.
Crown layers argued that even though the boy wasn't physically hurt, and the family — who have forgiven the abductor — didn't seem to be suffering severe psychological harm from the abduction, the kidnapping is the kind of crime that is likely to cause severe psychological damage.
Justice Heather Holmes agreed with the Crown, and said there are few non-violent crimes more frightening than a stranger taking a child from his bed.
She said Hopley had "made the bogeyman real" for the Hebert family.
Hopley will now be sent for a two-month assessment, and a dangerous offender hearing and a sentencing hearing will be held at a later date.
Hopley has a record of sexual involvement with young boys, but on a police interrogation video played in court earlier this year, he told police and the boy's father he had no sexual contact with Kienan.