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Prison sentence sought for Nanaimo man found guilty of child luring

Crown seeking one-year sentence, defence seeking conditional sentence
The courthouse in Nanaimo.

Crown counsel is calling for a one-year prison sentence for a Nanaimo man found guilty earlier this year of attempted child luring.

Justice Catherine Wedge found Craig Allen Sims, 41, guilty of communicating via computer to lure a child under the age of 18 for incidents that took place between 2007 and 2009, but acquitted him of two charges of sexual interference and one of sexual assault.

Sentencing began Friday, June 14, at the Nanaimo courthouse, with Suzanne Cassell, Crown counsel, seeking a one-year jail sentence and Cheyne Hodson, Sims's legal counsel, seeking a conditional sentence, whereby Sims would serve his time in the community with stringent conditions.

Evidence presented during the November trial included text messages between Sims and the victim. After an incident in which Sims appeared at the door of a bedroom where the victim was changing and was kicked out, he texted her and asked why he had been kicked out. The judge found that the victim responded negatively or not at all to the offender's advances.

Sims denied consciously trying to pursue an active relationship, but acknowledged he was likely attracted to the victim.

Crown counsel suggested a conditional sentence order would not be appropriate, noting that the victim was 12 when communications began and that Sims exploited the trust relationship as well as the victim's vulnerability. Crown counsel added that 135 messages were sent during 2008.

Addressing the court in an impact statement, the victim, who became emotional at times, said she was targeted as a child when she was trying to find her place in the world. Sims took a part of her childhood, she said, something she will never get back, and added that she had trouble finding the words to describe the pain and hurt that had been caused.

She mentioned that she is now approximately the same age as Sims when he committed the offences, and said as an adult she knows better and so should he, but he considered his wants more important than her. She sat with a weight on her shoulders as a teen and as an adult. Whenever he messaged her or she encountered him she would have to decide whether to keep the secret or uproot her life and become a "destroyer of worlds," she said.

Defence counsel noted that Sims lost a unionized job and now works for minimum wage, has no other criminal record and is a low risk to re-offend. He could be handed a conditional sentence order with significant punitive conditions and because his case is publicly known, he would have to deal with the shame associated with that.

In her January verdict, the judge said in terms of the sex interference and assault charges, witness testimony did not distinctly show that offences had taken place. The judge said she didn't question the witness' credibility, but rather reliability, as testimony related to incidents that had occurred more than 10 years prior.

A sentence is expected to be handed down July 26 at Nanaimo courthouse.

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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