BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Sex Abuse Father's Sentence Doubled By Supreme Court

12/04/2013 06:06 EST | Updated 02/03/2014 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - British Columbia's highest court has doubled a prison term to 10 years for an elderly father who sexually abused three of his daughters, sexually touched his granddaughter and once described his family as his "harem."

In a ruling posted online Wednesday, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein called the original five-year sentence handed to the man, identified only as K.V.E., "demonstrably unfit," saying it was disproportionate to the gravity of the offences and a substantial departure from sentences imposed in similar cases.

Her ruling noted he described sex with his daughters as "the best feeling in the world," a "scary thrill," and something he "couldn't stop," although he described the sexual touching of his granddaughter as "a few seconds of insanity."

"K.V.E. sexually, physically and psychologically abused his children for over 10 years and then preyed on his granddaughter," wrote Stromberg-Stein. "While the sentencing judge considered deterrence and denunciation, I agree with the Crown that he failed to give adequate effect to these principles."

Stromberg-Stein said a more appropriate sentence is five years for each count of incest, two years for sexual touching, all to be served consecutively, but she settled on 10 years in prison.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Justice Harvey Groberman, the two remaining judges on the three-member panel, agreed with the ruling.

"It certainly reflects the fact that the Crown took the position that the sentence imposed was not a fit sentence and the Court of Appeal has accepted that," said Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, when asked to comment on the ruling.

Barclay Johnson, counsel for K.V.E., said his client is currently incarcerated and will be "shocked" to learn of the ruling.

"It seems to me that this man has certainly hit the top end of the punishment scale," he said. "It sort of set the high-water mark."

Johnson said the case could have been dealt with as far back as 1990 when the allegations first arose, and the courts are essentially "locking him up and throwing away the key."

Johnson also said his client, who's 78 years old, won't live through the experience.

"He can't do anything other than accept what the court is saying. He can't go anywhere from here, I don't think. His life was in their hands. Period."

The court document states the man began abusing his three daughters when they were all under the age of 10, but the abuse stopped when they left home as teenagers. It states a fourth daughter was also abused but would not participate in the criminal proceedings.

K.V.E and his daughters went to police in 1990, the document adds, and the women gave oral statements to investigators on the condition their father would not be charged.

"The daughters wanted their father to get treatment," states the ruling. "K.V.E. promised his daughters it would never happen again."

But the document states that when his granddaughter was 20, she disclosed he had sexually abused her, after which police launched an investigation and the man was charged.

The court document states K.V.E. co-operated with authorities, pleaded guilty early, but also claimed he had been sexually groomed and molested when he was 11 years old.

The ruling said a March 14, 2013 psychological report called him an "untreated pedophile" who has a low to moderate risk of reoffending, and was likely to take advantage of those closest to him instead of seeking out victims.

One of his daughters identified as D.K. said in her victim impact statement that she grew up feeling disposable, scared, insecure and lonely in her own home.

"The biggest pain of all is not ever having the warm, comforting, safe feeling of a father, the genuine love and safety you should feel when you are in your home as a child and to be able to carry that feeling on into my adult life," she stated in the court document.