Edmonton

Crown asks for 'unprecedented' 29-year sentence for Evansburg father

At a sentencing hearing Monday for a 44-year old Evansburg-area man, the Crown requested an "unprecedented" 29-year sentence for the years of sexual abuse he subjected his three daughters to. The defence suggested a sentence in the range of 16-18 years.

Warning: Disturbing and graphic content

A father who sexually abused his three daughters for years is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday. (Cort Sloan/CBC)

The Crown is seeking an "unprecedented" sentence of 29 years for an Evansburg-area father who sexually assaulted and sexually exploited his three daughters for more than six years.

The father, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identities of his victims, pleaded guilty in February 2019 to 10 criminal charges, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, human trafficking, incest, making child pornography and a weapons offence.

"You must be the voice of these victims, of this family, of our community," Crown prosecutor Suvidha Kalra told Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vital Ouellette on Monday. "You must tell this offender, sir, and anyone like him, that this type of carnage will not be tolerated. 

"This is the stuff of nightmares. The difference is that for the complainants and the family, they don't get to wake up."

Though all three of the man's daughters were sexually abused, the middle daughter endured the worst treatment, starting when she was 12.

"We are talking about a man who sexually violated his one daughter in every way humanly possible over the course of years, multiple times a week," Kalra said. "He objectified, abused and degraded her."

When the girl turned 16, her father offered her up on a website aimed at adults looking for sexual partners. He arranged two encounters. 

He sexually assaulted his oldest daughter for two years, and his youngest daughter for two and a half years.

The prosecutor said when she added up all the sentences she was seeking, she arrived at a total of 39 years in prison. But Kalra said she reduced that number to 29 years after taking into account the so-called totality principle and the guilty pleas.

This man is an unprecedented offender-  Suvidha Kalra , Crown prosecutor

"I understand I am asking for an unprecedented sentence," Kalra said. "But with respect, sir, this man is an unprecedented offender.

"Twenty-nine years represents thoughtful consideration of all of the principles of sentencing. It is not an expression of vengeance. It is a principled and proportionate sentence which recognizes the depraved and devastating nature of this offence."  

In a supplementary agreed statement of facts given to the court, the father admitted he had indirect contact with his daughters through his own father. 

As a result, two of his daughters were frightened and afraid to come to court.

"They had feelings of major anxiety, crying and the feeling of being underwater as a result of these communications," Kalra said. 

No remorse 

The court has been told the father has not expressed remorse, and refused to participate in any pre-sentence assessments. 

"This accused is not remorseful," Kalra said. "Rehabilitation has very, very limited use for someone who has no insight into the abuse."

The Crown noted the devastating impact the years of abuse has had on the family. 

"It is a pattern of pain that continues today," Kalra said. "They have nightmares, they're on medication, they have self-loathing. They harm themselves to control the pain. They are unable to leave home. They are triggered. They have panic attacks."

The only family member in the courtroom for Monday's hearing was the accused's father.

Defence lawyer Alexandra Seaman called the 29-year sentence proposed by the Crown "crushing" and suggested a sentence in the range of 16 to 18 years. 

"This court must craft a fit and proper sentence that is just and not unduly harsh at the end of the day," Seaman said. "I would suggest the 16-year range being submitted recognizes the extremely serious nature of these offences." 

The sentencing hearing will conclude Tuesday morning when the father is scheduled to address the court. 

The 44-year-old man has been in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre since his arrest in November 2016. Because of media publicity surrounding his case, after seven months he was transferred to administrative segregation for his own safety. He will receive 2.75 days of credit for every day spent in the remand centre. 

As a result, whatever prison term is handed down on Thursday afternoon, the father will have seven years taken off his sentence. 

"Obviously he's going to be in jail for a long time," Justice Ouellette said.