Edmonton

Minimum one-year sentence for child luring 'disproportionate,' defence lawyer argues

The defence lawyer for a former teacher who pleaded guilty to child luring argued in court Thursday that his client doesn’t deserve a mandatory one-year minimum sentence.

Former high school teacher pleaded guilty to luring female student through Snapchat

Mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail would be "grossly disproportionate," argued the lawyer for teacher who pleaded guilty to one count of child luring. (Josee St-Onge/CBC)

The defence lawyer for a former teacher who pleaded guilty to child luring argued in court Thursday that his client doesn't deserve a mandatory one-year minimum sentence.

Andrew Jissink, a former welding teacher at Barrhead Composite High school, pleaded guilty to one count of child luring in August 2019.

He admitted to sending inappropriate messages to a female Grade 10 student through the messaging app Snapchat, according to an agreed statement of facts. 

Jissink, 46, had asked the student to help him clean up at the school on Dec. 26, 2016, which she agreed to do. 

He also admitted to sending the girl two messages of a sexual nature while he was intoxicated on New Year's Day.

Jissink's lawyer, Donald McLaughlin, challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence carried in a luring charge.

He argued a one-year jail sentence would be "grossly disproportionate," given that his client had no sexual contact with the girl. 

Andrew Jissink was a shop teacher at Barrhead Composite High School. (Courtesy Westlock News )

Crown prosecutor James Rowan asked the judge to impose a two-year prison sentence.

Jissink's behaviour was a breach of trust because he was in a position of authority, said Rowan.

He cited a case recently heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, R. vs. Friesen, which looked at what constitutes an appropriate sentence range for sexual offences involving children. 

The court upheld the original six-year prison sentence for a Manitoba man convicted of sexual interference against a child.

"We send a strong message that sexual offences against children are violent crimes that wrongfully exploit children's vulnerability and cause profound harm to children, families, and communities," said the decision. 

"Sentences for these crimes must increase."

Rowan argued the same principles should be applied to Jissink's case.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn reserved his decision.

Jissink remains free on bail.

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