James Clifford Paul denied bail in 'horrendous' attack on girl, 6
Girl suffered "grievous injury that could lead her to suffer … for most of her life,' judge says
The man accused of viciously attacking a six-year-old girl on the Paul First Nation and leaving her for dead last December was denied bail Wednesday.
James Clifford Paul, 21, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping related to the attack, which happened a few days before Christmas on the reserve 70 kilometres west of Edmonton.
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Judge Charles D. Gardner called the facts of the case "horrendous," saying the little girl was "brutally attacked" and suffered "grievous injury that could lead her to suffer … for most of her life."
The young girl had been tobogganing with a group but was sent home to change into dry clothes. Family members later found her in the snow, severely beaten and suffering from hypothermia.
Paul was arrested a few hours later.
Paul appeared in the Stony Plain courtroom by closed circuit television wearing a standard orange jumpsuit. But he said nothing as Gardner gave his decision.
In denying bail, Gardner characterized the case as a "strong" one for the Crown involving admissions made by Paul to investigators and strong forensic and circumstantial evidence.
Gardner said Paul continues to be a danger to the public and that alone would keep him in jail.
He noted Paul's criminal record includes two convictions for unprovoked attacks on a former girlfriend and is accused of assaulting another girlfriend.
But Gardner went further, saying he also rejected bail on the grounds that the public would lose confidence in the justice system if Paul was released.
He referred to a recent Supreme Court decision that states four circumstances must be considered, including; the strength of the crown's case, the gravity of the offences, the circumstances of the victim and the likelihood of a lengthy jail sentence if convicted.
Gardner called the offences the most grave imaginable.
He also noted the victim could not be more vulnerable and, if convicted, Paul faces life in prison.
Outside the courthouse, Crown prosecutor Jason Neustaeter said two psychiatric assessments ruled out the possibility that Paul could plead he was not criminally responsible for the attack.
Neustaeter also confirmed the victim has been released from hospital. But he added she faces a long road of therapy ahead, both physical and psychological.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 23.