New & Notable: Yet another Court of Appeal sending a strong message about sexual offences against children

Kelly Minogue had a 14 year-old son. That 14 year-old son would bring his friends over to his house, where his mom, Ms Minogue, would purchase and ply them with alcohol.  


Ms. Minogue had a threesome with 2 of her son’s 14 year-old friends, S and J. She had sex with J on two subsequent occasions. The third victim, L, also 14, attended the Minogue residence, to hang out with friends and drink. S got drunks and Ms. Minogue invited S to sleep in her bed where she initiated sexual contact.

At the time of the offences Minogue was 37 and recently divorced and sharing custody on an alternating weekly basis with her ex-husband. Minogue plead guilty to three counts of sexual interference.

Minogue showed little insight into her offending behaviour as reported by the author of the pre-sentence report although her risk for re-offending was reported to be low following a sexual behaviours assessment.

The sentencing judge concluded that an appropriate sentence in these circumstances was 2 years. The Crown appealed: [2012] SJ 657 (CA).

In an earlier post Lia Bramwell commented on the sentences handed out by the Alberta and Ontario Courts of Appeal: Strong message to those who sexually abuse children.

In Minogue, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal unanimously found that the 2 year sentence was unfit. In doing so it offered the following:

The Crown has submitted that a fit sentence would be 42 months. A 42-month sentence for these offences committed in these circumstances would be a reasonable sentence, though we must not lose sight of the personal circumstances of the offender and, in particular, the impact of this sentence on Ms. Minogue, given that she is required to serve this sentence outside of Saskatchewan.

At the time of sentencing, which occurred some 18 months after the charges were laid, Ms. Minogue was attending the Saskatoon Business College where she was taking an administrative assistant program. Her children were completely estranged from her. She was suffering from clinical depression and was described by a relative as being "fragile." Ms. Minogue indicated to the pre-sentence report author that "emotionally things would be a lot better if she could mend the relationships with her kids." By serving her sentence in Alberta, this sentence will fall more harshly on Ms. Minogue than on other offenders serving a similar sentence as she is further removed from her primary source of support, her parents, who reside at some considerable distance from Edmonton.

Having regard for the seriousness of the three offences, Parliament's clear direction regarding offences against children and the jurisprudence from this Court, a two-year sentence is clearly unreasonable. A fit sentence in all of the circumstances, particularly the offender's personal circumstances, would be three years.

Leave is granted to the Crown. The appeal is allowed. The custodial portion of the sentence is set aside. The sentence is fixed at three years. The ancillary DNA and SOIRA orders remain [paras 17-20].