Donnie Snook sex crimes termed 'evil' by Appeal Court
New Brunswick Court of Appeal gives reasons for rejecting sex offender's appeal of 18-year sentence
New Brunswick's highest court has given its reasons for rejecting former Saint John city councillor Donnie Snook's appeal of his 18-year sentence for sex crimes against young males.
Snook pleaded guilty to 46 counts involving 17 victims over a 12-year period. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, less credit of 1.5 days for each day spent in custody while awaiting sentencing.
Both appeals were dismissed in oral judgements by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal on Nov. 26, 2014 with reasons to follow.
"It is conduct that must be severely denounced, and courts are directed to take the necessary steps to deter those who might be inclined toward such reprehensible behaviour," states the Appeal Court in its written decision released Thursday. "This is a case where the importance of denunciation and deterrence are brought to the forefront.
In written reasons by Mr. Justice. J.C. Marc Richard, the court defers to the sentenced imposed at the Court of Queen's Bench.
"[The sentencing judge] gave primary consideration to the objectives of deterrence and denunciation and he settled on a sentence he felt would satisfy the fundamental principal of proportionality," states Richard.
"In my view, the sentence imposed is not a departure, let alone a marked departure, from sentences that should customarily be imposed to meet these sentencing objectives and, at the same time, be proportionate to the harm done."
The Appeal Court noted Snook had acquired an impressive resume in Saint John before adding "child molester, child pornographer, convicted sexual offender and extortionist" to his "resume items."
The Supreme Court has called this type of behaviour 'an evil.'- N.B. Court of Appeal
"While publicly portraying himself to society at large as a doer of good, privately he was preying upon his community's most vulnerable. The Supreme Court has called this type of behaviour 'an evil,'" wrote Richard, before referencing a sentence from the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in R v. D.A.I.
"Child sexual predators are an evil that undermine one of our most basic societal values: that children should be free from sexual abuse. It is an inexcusable crime."
Richard's decision also cites an Alberta Court of Appeal decision which states "adult sexual predators who would put the lives of innocent children at risk to satisfy their deviant sexual needs must know they will pay a heavy price."
"We as a society owe it to our children to protect them from the harm caused by offenders like the appellant."