Sex assaults on ex-girlfriend

A 25-year-old Okanagan man avoided jail time Wednesday when he was sentenced in the sexual assault of his ex-girlfriend.

B.N., whose name is withheld to protect the identity of the victim, was in a relationship with T.R. for two and a half years before he broke up with her in August 2016.

The pair continued to live together in the home they had recently moved into in West Kelowna, until T.R. called police in the early hours of Sept. 4.

She told police that B.N. had been drinking alcohol that night, and had attempted to kiss her, and put his hands up her shirt and down her skirt, before she told him “no.”

She told police that similar unwanted advances had occurred on two other occasions over the previous weeks. B.N. was arrested and released on bail which included a condition of no contact with T.R.

Between Sept. 19 and 27, B.N reached out to T.R. through email and Facebook on multiple occasions.

“Please text or call me, otherwise this will be goodbye to you and the world,” one of the emails read. Crown counsel said T.R. took this as a suicide threat.

In a victim impact statement, T.R. told the court of the harm she suffered as a result of the assaults.

“Clearly she is fearful of the offender and has suffered anxiety as a result of the offences,” Justice Lisa Wyatt said during sentencing.

On April 26, B.N. pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of breaching his bail conditions.

On Wednesday, B.N.'s defence counsel, Wade Jenson, proposed a conditional discharge as an appropriate sentence, while Crown sought a conditional sentence, the main difference between the two being a lasting criminal record.

"The law is clear, there cannot be inferred or assumed consent for any sexual contact whatsoever," Jenson said. “However, that being said, I think this can be fairly described as a somewhat clumsy and selfish ... effort to revive a failed relationship that had experienced a number of stops and starts throughout its history."

Crown counsel David Grabavac conceded this case was on the “lower end of the spectrum” of sexual assault but said a conditional discharge sends the “wrong message" to the public.

In a presentence report, a psychologist found B.N. to be a "low risk to reoffend," and Justice Wyatt accepted that B.N. was remorseful.

“I wanted to apologize to (TR) for what I did, disrespecting her, it wasn't right,” B.N. said through tears on Wednesday. “I've made some serious changes in my life.”

Justice Wyatt suspended B.N.'s sentence, and gave him 18 months of probation. While a suspended sentence will result in a criminal record, B.N. will not be subject to a curfew like he would have under a conditional sentence.

The conditions of his probation order include not contacting T.R. or coming within 100 metres of her home and work and abstaining from alcohol and drugs. He will also be added to Canada's sex offender registry for 10 years.

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