New & Notable: Yet another message from a Court of many more do we need?

James is yet another decision which illustrates the seriousness of the consequences which flow from sexual assault perpetrated against a child. In recent blogs the approach by appellate courts in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta has been discussed [see Strong Message to Those Who Sexually Abuse Children and Yet Another Court of Appeal Sending a Strong Message about Sexual Assault]; now Manitoba can be added to that list: 2013 MBCA 14.


James was at various times a scout, hockey coach and general manager of various teams in the Western Hockey League.  James recruited Theoren Fleury and Todd Holt. Both young men left their homes and families to pursue their dream of becoming professional hockey players. The boys were billeted to families in the communities in which they played – James selected the families. Two nights per week the boys were required to stay with James ostensibly for the purpose of academic tutoring – no such tutoring ever took place.

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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 675 (CA).

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New & Notable: Strong message to those who sexually abuse children

Mr. Merrick was in his mid 60’s when he fondled the genitalia of a 10 year old boy he babysat.  He did this “countless” times to the boy over the following four years.  He was caught and pleaded guilty to a single count of touching a person under 14 for a sexual purpose (s. 151(a) of the Criminal Code).  He appealed his 5 ½ year sentence arguing that his actions did not constitute a “major sexual assault.”  The Alberta Court of Appeal didn’t buy the argument: 2012 ABCA 319.

Earlier this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal also grappled with sentencing in child sexual assault cases but in a case where there could be no argument about whether the offender’s actions constituted a “major sexual assault.”  Over a three year period, on a near daily basis, Mr. D.M. sexually abused his 15 year old niece who was completely dependent on him.  The abuse started as sexual touching and culminated in sexual intercourse 2-3 times per week.  The trial judge found that the mitigating factors put the appropriate sentence at the low end of the range and sentenced Mr. D.M. to 3 years.  The Ontario Court of Appeal found that sentence to be manifestly unfit and sentenced him to 7 years, the sentence sought by the Crown at trial: 2012 ONCA 520.


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