ab-EWANCHUK

Serial sex offender Steve Ewanchuk was declared a long-term offender in January. ((CBC News))

Only a major prison sentence can protect the public from well-known serial sex offender Steve Ewanchuk, the Crown charged Tuesday.

Ewanchuk, whose most recent conviction is for repeatedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, has never accepted responsibility for his crimes and has consistently reoffended against young women and children, Tania Holland told Judge Sterling Sanderman, arguing fora prison sentence of between 22 and 25 years.

Wearing blue prison coveralls, Ewanchuk, 58, clutched his Bible in the prisoner's box Tuesday while Holland described him as a sexual predator. The Edmonton man's convictions date back to 1969, including a sexual assault during a job interview that became known as the "no means no" case.

Ewanchuk'slawyer, Chris Millsap, called for a term of between six and eight years, arguinghis client must be sentenced on the most recent conviction, not his entire criminal record, personality and character.

As well, Millsap said,Ewanchuk should get close to six years credit forthe 2½ years he has spent in the remand centre, whichthe lawyerdescribed as the "hardest of hard time."

Ewanchuk's age, as well as his struggles with two forms of cancer, should be other mitigating factors, Millsap said.

Hardly ever saw a banana: Ewanchuk

Ewanchuk also testifiedTuesday, wiping away tears as herecalled his time in the remand centre.

He shook his head as he told the court he was in protective custody, with sometimes only an hour outside of his cell every day.

Ewanchuk also complained that following surgery his diet requirements didn't get the proper attention from the facility, and that in spite of low potassium levels he hardly saw a banana.

Ewanchuk testified he wanted to be alone in the cell, but more often than not had to share. He broke downwhen he said too many inmates smoked around him, even though he told the guards he was allergic to smoke.

Crown lawyers say he shouldn't get any credit for time served, saying Ewanchuk requested protective custody in the first place.

Sanderman will hand down his sentence on Thursday.

Ewanchuk has been convicted of a string of sexual assaults, starting in 1969, involving women and girls from ages eight to 20.

In 1999, the Supreme Court overturned two Alberta courts and, in a precedent-setting decision, found Ewanchuk guilty of sexual assault after he groped a 17-year-old girl during a job interview, even though she asked him to stop three times.

The incident became known as the "no means no" case.

In January, Sanderman declared Ewanchuk a long-term offender. The ruling means the Edmonton man will face 10 years of supervision in the community after serving time for his most recent conviction.

'The most disgusting of individuals'

If Ewanchuk had been declared a dangerous offender, a label the Crown had sought, he would have been imprisoned indefinitely.

At the time, Sanderman lambasted Ewanchuk for his actions.

"You are a most repulsive man," Sanderman told him. "You cause aversion and loathing in other human beings. You are a loathsome person. You are the most disgusting of individuals."