WARNING: Article contains information related to sex crimes.
A judge in Nanaimo has sentenced a man, 18 years old at the time of his offences, to a year and a half in jail for sex crimes committed against a 13-year-old girl in 2020.
In provincial court in Nanaimo on June 13, Judge Karen Whonnock sentenced Kailum Matthew Staples, 20, to 18 months in prison. Staples was charged with sexual interference of a person under 16 and invitation to sexual touching under 16. Sentencing began May 24, but Whonnock reserved ruling in order to review case law submitted by Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, and Miles Motture, defence.
Mascolo sought a jail sentence of 12-18 months, while Motture sought an 11-month conditional sentence order, to be served in the community.
A trial took place in November, but Staples entered a guilty plea after witnesses testified.
The girl, whose identity is protected, met Staples numerous times in 2020, said Mascolo, with the girl telling Staples how old she was. The two engaged in sexual intercourse at Bowen Park in April 2020, but stopped at the girl’s request.
The girl did not want to submit a victim impact statement due to emotional difficulty, Mascolo said.
Citing a pre-sentence report, she said Staples, who is of Indigenous heritage, had a difficult childhood with time in foster care and was exposed to substance abuse and domestic violence. He also deals with addiction to marijuana and alcohol, post-traumatic stress disorder and has cognitive and mental health issues, said Crown counsel.
While he pleaded guilty, the report stated he takes limited responsibility for the offences and continues to express blame toward the victim, said Mascolo. Given the harm to the victim, the nature of the assault and the age of the complainant, a jail sentence is appropriate, she said.
In his submission, Motture said he felt a conditional sentence order was appropriate to balance issues in the sentencing.
Staples committed the offence two months after his 18th birthday and as such, was not far removed being dealt with in youth justice, Motture told Whonnock. In addition, Staples’s cognitive issues make him younger than his actual age, Motture said.
Following his release from prison, Staples will be on probation for two years and will be registered as a sex offender for 10 years, as per the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.