A provincial court judge in Nanaimo will ponder whether a man, 18 at the time of his offences, will serve jail time for sex crimes committed against a 13-year-old girl in 2020.
A sentencing hearing began today, May 24, for Kailum Matthew Staples, 20, charged with sexual interference of a person under 16 and invitation to sexual touching under 16, with Judge Karen Whonnock presiding. Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, sought a jail sentence of 12-18 months, while Miles Motture, defence counsel, sought an 11-month conditional sentence order, to be served in the community.
A trial took place in November, Mascolo told the court, 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 victim visited the hospital a month after the incident due to bleeding and was diagnosed with chlamydia, according to Mascolo, and has become depressed, angry and has dropped out of school.
The girl did not want to submit a victim impact statement due to emotional difficulty, Mascolo said.
Citing a pre-sentence report, Mascolo 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 Mascolo.
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.
Whonnock reserved ruling in order to review case law submitted by Mascolo and Motture.
A date for the decision is expected to be set on Tuesday, May 31.