KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A sex offender the Crown in Kamloops, B.C., is seeking to have locked up indefinitely wants to go back to the land, not to prison.
In closing arguments at a dangerous-offender hearing on Wednesday, prosecutor Joel Gold said the claim by David Jennings of wanting to go back to live in the bush is just an excuse to escape being put away.
Gold said Jennings testified on his own behalf in the hearing, saying "my way of living is out in the bush so I can do my own thing and live off the land.”
"There’s no evidence he’s done this (lived in the bush),” Gold told provincial court Judge Len Marchand.
"It’s almost like a fantasy: 'I can escape all this and live by myself.' This is pulled out of thin air,” Gold said.
The 50-year-old Jennings, whose latest conviction involved a young boy, testified that he doesn't remember his sexual offences against children in Alberta in the 1980s and 1990s and he denied fondling a boy in 2011 at a rural area outside of Kamloops.
The Crown wants to have Jennings labelled a dangerous offender which would give him an indefinite prison sentence following his last conviction.
Jennings was also jailed after he breached a court order to stay away from children when he befriended a 13-year-old boy while volunteering at a Salvation Army thrift store in Kamloops.
A probation officer who visited Jennings’ apartment several years ago reported it was full of stuffed toys.
The sexual offence three years ago against the boy — who called him Uncle Dave — occurred despite the fact Kamloops RCMP issued a public warning about Jennings and the threat he posed to children.
In each case, Jennings befriended families who allowed him to be around their children.
Gold outlined reports from probation officials and psychologists showing Jennings has consistently displayed little or no interest in counselling and doesn't acknowledge his offences.
He noted that a psychologist's report concluded that offenders who don't recognize their offences, and aren't ashamed, have little chance at successful treatment inside or outside prison.
Those who benefit from limited jail "accept what they’ve done," Gold said. "They’re good candidates for treatment.”
Jennings, on the other hand, claims he doesn’t remember his convictions, Gold said.
In treatment, Gold said, Jennings focuses on his own sexual victimization, rather than his actions and what he’s done to others.
“He’s in deep denial,” Gold said. “That doesn’t offer protection for the public.”
When Marchand imposes a sentence, he can opt for a finite prison sentence, a prison sentence followed by long-term supervision or an indefinite term that could see Jennings in custody for the rest of his life.
(Kamloops This Week)