Former Nanaimo man sentenced to 5.5 years for 1999 rape at music festival

James Redden was charged in 2015 after Abbotsford cold case reopened

A man convicted of a 1999 rape at an Abbotsford music festival has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

James Redden, 51, formerly of Nanaimo, was sentenced Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on three charges with which he was convicted after his trial: sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering threats.

The assault occurred on Aug. 7, 1999 during the 11th annual Sumas Mountain Happening outdoor rock festival on an 11.5-acre property in the 37200 block of Ward Road in Abbotsford.

Sometime around midnight, the victim, then 21, walked back to her vehicle and was grabbed, dragged into the woods and sexually assaulted.

She was choked to the point where she nearly lost consciousness, and she was threatened with death.

Evidence was gathered following the attack, but the case remained unsolved until December 2013.

At that time, the officer who first investigated the case re-opened the file and sent clothing obtained from the scene for DNA analysis.

In early 2014, a DNA profile was discovered and a suspect was identified. Before then, there was no match because Redden was not in the DNA database.

READ MORE: Abbotsford Police lay charges in 1999 sexual assault

READ MORE: DNA from clothing key to cold case rape trial

It then took some additional time for police to gather further evidence to back up their case, leading to charges being laid against Redden on Dec. 17, 2015.

This was not the first time that Redden had been charged with sexual assault.

In 2008, he went to trial – and was acquitted – on charges of sexual assault with a weapon and uttering threats from an incident that occurred in Nanaimo in November 1995.

The complainant in that case testified that she had been walking along the road when she was attacked from behind, taken into a ditch, raped and threatened with death.

She was not able to identify her attacker.

Redden was arrested and charged with the attack 12 years later, in 2007, but was acquitted at trial when the judge said the evidence heard at trial didn’t establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Redden was guilty.

The complainant had been a resident of a local hotel, where Redden testified he often went for casual sex with women.

Semen found on a jacket belonging to the complainant was determined to be Redden’s, but his lawyer argued that the semen was transferred there when the woman picked up clothing at the motel belonging to another resident.

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