Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crown breaks down while describing impact of sexual assault on victim

A Manitoba Crown attorney wept Monday as she described how a rape victim has been devastated by the attack.
Jocelyn Ritchot had to pause several times as she struggled to read a statement on behalf of the woman, whose 46-year-old former boyfriend pleaded guilty to several charges. He was sentenced to three years in prison in addition to 18 months of time already served. His name isn't being published to protect the identity of the victim.
"I trusted you. I cared for you. I only wanted the best for you. Why, why, why?" the woman wrote. "Emotionally I felt dirty, used, guilty that somehow I allowed it to happen, and very degraded. I feel like my soul has been robbed."
The victim -- who wasn't present for the sentencing hearing -- began dating the man after they met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 2007, court was told. They ended their romance in July 2008 but continued to be friends. However, everything changed when the woman went to his Beausejour-area home in September 2008 and found him intoxicated.
"I wanted to help him. I felt sorry for him. Then it became a nightmare," she wrote.
The man put duct tape over her face, bound her hands and legs together and then sodomized her. He also demanded she call her 18-year-old daughter to come over so he could sexually assault her while she watched. She was repeatedly beaten when she refused. The man also threatened to hit her with a lead pipe.
"No mother should ever be put in that position," Ritchot told court. "He had no regard for the feelings or personal integrity of the victim."
The man eventually untied his victim and allowed her to escape the house, telling her "I have nothing left in my life... I belong in jail."
"I no longer had any personal control. I was at his mercy. I looked into his eyes and could see nothing," the woman recalled in her victim impact statement. "My whole world changed absolutely when that duct tape came out."
The woman said she was unable to cope with the physical and emotional damage she suffered and began drinking again to mask her pain. She also had to quit her job.
"I despise myself for starting to drink again," she said.
The man has a previous criminal history, including a similar sexually motivated attack on his former wife in 2004. He also met her at an AA meeting, court was told.
Defence lawyer Manny Bhangu said his client is sorry for the harm he caused his former girlfriend.
"This was definitely a situation that was fuelled by alcohol," he said.
The man's sentence was a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.

This article does not spend enough time talking about the offender and his previous background life, history of alcohol addictions and more of the arguments from Defence. It’s clear that this man had alcohol addictions and attempted to seek help through AA, on more than one occasion. This should have been acknowledged. 

This man says that he has nothing left in his life. This article does not delve deeper into the possible reasons why he said this.
It also does not provide enough information on his previous criminal history. Was he found guilty of that offence? What were the events leading up to it? Was it violent, etc.? Not enough is known about the previous attack, for it to have any relevance in this man’s guilt.

Throughout the article, it is implied that this man had intent to harm this woman, when he may not have. I believe that this attack was fuelled by alcohol and that putting this man in prison, is just a lazy response to dodge the issues of alcohol addiction. This man needs more intensive help, in my opinion, such as a residential alcohol treatment program of some sort. It also does not say whether he was employed, lived in poverty, etc. and other mitigating circumstances. 

I understand that he plead guilty but I feel that he should have gotten 2 years less a day combined with probation, to help in addressing his addictions.

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