‘Jail time not warranted’ in White Rock sex assault: lawyer

Defence lawyer seeks conditional sentence for client who pleaded guilty to sex assault

The lawyer for a man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman more than seven years ago in White Rock says his client’s behaviour doesn’t warrant jail time.

Jason Andrew Robinson didn’t use violence or threaten the victim, nor was there actual intercourse, John Douglas reasoned Monday in B.C. Supreme Court, in arguing for a conditional sentence of 12 to 18 months.

As well, Robinson obeyed the victim’s order to leave, Douglas said.

“So there was no force, no violence and no threats here,” Douglas told Justice Robert Crawford.

“Once she woke up and told my client to leave, he left.”

Robinson pleaded guilty this past June to the Aug. 31, 2007 assault, nearly a year after he was ordered to stand trial.

In September, prosecutor Winston Sayson argued Robinson should spend two years in jail and 20 years on the sex-offender registry for the offence.

At that time, the court heard that the assault occurred after the 25-year-old victim went to the beach with Robinson and friends around 2 p.m., then to a pub, home for dinner and then to the Sandpiper Pub – where Robinson worked as a cook – around 7 p.m.

She headed home “quite drunk” around 11 p.m., and went to bed, Sayson said.

The assault occurred about four hours later.

Douglas acknowledged that the victim – who did not attend the Supreme Court proceedings and cannot be identified – awoke to find her clothes had been removed “and my client was standing over her naked, about to have sexual intercourse with her.”

But there is no proof of actual sex, he said.

“My client has taken the position right from the beginning that there was no sexual intercourse,” Douglas said.

He added that the victim had been “crying on my client’s shoulder” earlier in the evening, after she called her boyfriend – who was in the Maritimes – and the phone was answered by a woman.

While Sayson had argued that expert reports showed Robinson “is in a state of denial” and often points to alcohol or cocaine as a reason for why he does certain things, Douglas said his client has taken responsibility for “taking advantage of an intoxicated woman” and has changed his life in the years since.

And, he is deemed a moderate to low risk to reoffend, as long as he keeps his drug and alcohol use under control.

While conditional sentences for offences such as sexual assault were taken off the table seven years ago, Douglas said as they were an option at the time of the White Rock assault, it should still be available to Robinson.

He added that conditional sentences have been imposed in “more serious-fact situations” – including cases involving penetration or minors.

Sayson countered that the law around the presence or absence of penetration in determining sentencing “is not necessarily clear.” Sexual assault without it still has “profound effects” on a woman’s well-being, he said, naming humiliation, degradation, guilt, shame and self-blame as common characteristics among victims.

“The moral culpability is the same,” Sayson said.

Robinson is to learn his penalty Friday.

 

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