Crown seeks 2-year sentence for man who sexually touched 6-year-old girl

The Crown is seeking a two-year jail sentence for a 66-year-old Chaleur-area man convicted of six counts of sexually touching a girl over several years, starting when she was six years old.

David Murphy, 66, of Chaleur region previously convicted of 6 charges dating back to 2001

David Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced in Caraquet provincial court on March 15 at 1:30 p.m. (CBC)

The Crown is seeking a two-year jail sentence for a 66-year-old Chaleur-area man convicted of six counts of sexually touching a girl over several years, starting when she was six years old.

David Murphy, 66, had a "special situation" with Roxanne Roy's family when the criminal activity started in 2001, Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot told the Caraquet provincial courtroom Tuesday during a sentencing hearing.

It was almost a situation of trust, with Murphy visiting the family home, said Veniot.

"It's impossible to downplay the impact of sexual assault on a person of this age," he said.

Roy has suffered a series of difficulties as a result, including trouble sleeping and dealing with issues, said Veniot, based on her victim impact statement.

The prosecutor urged the judge to consider six months in jail for the first two offences, which occurred between 2001 and 2002, and 18 months consecutive for the other four offences, which occurred between 2007 and 2008 and involved "more serious," more frequent sexual touching.

Veniot also requested Murphy be ordered to provide a DNA sample and that he be added to the sexual offender registry.

Defence lawyer Serge Robichaud, however, argued if any imprisonment is imposed, it should not be unduly long or harsh.

"This is clearly not in the same ballpark" as some of the other cases cited by the Crown, which involved rape, said Robichaud.

No prior record

David Murphy appeared in court alone on Tuesday. (René Landry/Radio-Canada)

He also cited the "stigma" Murphy has faced through media coverage of the case.

Murphy, who was found guilty in December, is a first-time offender, said Robichaud.

He recommended a sentence of between six and nine months, followed by two years of probation with several conditions, including that he seek treatment for sexual deviance and children, not be in company of children under 16 unless accompanied by parents, have no contact with the victim and abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Murphy, who lives in an adult residence, has struggled with alcoholism and chronic depression, the courtroom heard. He takes medications for depression, pain and sleep and is followed monthly by a social worker, his lawyer said.

Denies the abuse

Outside the courthouse, Murphy denied the abuse.

"It's a lot of lies," he told reporters. "Never touched that kid.

"Bought her stuff since she was just a baby. Bought her clothes, bought her food, everything. The whole family as far as that goes. That's what you get when you treat a person good."

Judge Johanne-Marguerite Landry will impose sentence with a written decision on March 15 at 1:30 p.m.

Roy, now 21, said sentencing will come as a big relief. She is anxious to move on with her life, she said.

Roy has been fighting for justice for more than a decade, when she first went to police.

Last year, she asked the judge to lift a publication ban that normally protects the identity of victims of sexual assault because she wanted to speak out against the justice system and how she felt it failed to protect victims.

Roxanne Roy has been waiting more than a decade to see her assailant sentenced in court for sexually assaulting her as a child. (CBC)

On Tuesday, Roy told reporters she is happy with the sentencing recommendations, but it was another difficult day for her, having to face her attacker again.

Murphy was previously scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 7, but didn't show up because of a dental procedure.

It was the latest in a string of delays that Roy has said have affected her mental health and her trust in the justice system.

Roy reported the sexual assault in 2007, but was told by judicial officials at the time that she didn't have enough evidence and would probably lose.

In 2015, a new prosecutor took an interest in the case and reopened the file.

Murphy was charged, but the trial was put off several times for various reasons, including a change of venue and missing documents. In April 2017, Murphy couldn't get to court because of the weather.

Roy said it's been a long and at times painful process. She was ready to give up at one point, but is glad she persevered.

She said she has no regrets and encourages other women to come forward and fight for justice.

With files from Gabrielle Fahmy