British Columbia

Appeal board upholds decision to deny parole for Canada's youngest-ever dangerous offender

Adam Laboucan was 17 when he was given an indeterminate prison sentence for sexually assaulting a three-month-old boy in Quesnel, B.C., in 1999.

Adam Laboucan sexually assaulted a 3-month-old boy in Quesnel, B.C., in 1999

Adam Laboucan was handed an indeterminate prison sentence for sexually assaulting a three-month-old boy in Quesnel, B.C. when he was 17. Laboucan now identifies as female and has changed her name to Tara Desousa. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

The Parole Board of Canada's appeal division has upheld a decision to deny parole to a sexual offender in British Columbia who has been behind bars since becoming the country's youngest dangerous offender in 1999.

Adam Laboucan was 17 when he was given an indeterminate prison sentence for sexually assaulting a three-month-old boy in Quesnel, B.C.

Laboucan now identifies as female and has changed her name to Tara Desousa.

Desousa's last unsuccessful application for parole was in November 2017, and she appealed that decision on several grounds, including bias on the part of the board.

A decision from the appeal division released Tuesday rejects Desousa's appeal, dismissing claims that incomplete or erroneous information was used in reaching a quick decision and saying there was "no reasonable apprehension of bias.''

The earlier board decision said it was concerned that Desousa was unable to manage her anger after she grabbed another inmate by the hair and threw her, then kicked her in the face.

The appeal division also noted the board had factored in Desousa's Indigenous background.

"The board found that you have experienced negative intergenerational effects as a result, and acknowledged the linkage between your involvement in the criminal justice system and a number of elements in social and family history, including your substance abuse issues.''

The appeal division said the parole board assessed Desousa's risk to reoffend, and found that rejecting full and day parole was reasonable.

now