Manitoba justice officials are seeking up to seven more years in prison for a Winnipeg doctor convicted of sexually assaulting an incapacitated teen patient inside the Children's Hospital.
But defence lawyers for Walid Abdelhamid say the time he’s already spent in custody far exceeds the proper punishment and should result in him being released from custody immediately.
Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey has reserved her decision after hearing arguments this morning. No date has been set, although it likely won’t be until the fall.
Abdelhamid, 33, was convicted of sexual assault following a trial earlier this year. He was working at Health Sciences Centre in 2009 when he twice assaulted the then-15-year-old boy, who had suffered a serious back injury while riding a motorbike.
The now-18-year-old told court he awoke twice in the middle of the night to find Abdelhamid fondling him. Both incidents occurred when he was immobilized and being dosed with morphine for pain.
A videotaped police interview was taken in his hospital room hours after the alleged attacks. A copy of the statement was played in court and shows the boy in obvious physical discomfort hooked up to tubes awaiting surgery.
"At first I was thinking it was like normal and he was checking something," he told police in the statement.
A key issue at trial was the youth's state of mind as a result of being medicated. Defence lawyer Marty Minuk repeatedly suggested the young man may have been too high to comprehend what happened. But the youth said he knew exactly what was going on.
The first incident happened around 2 a.m., according to the teen. He said he awoke to find Abdelhamid hovering over him, touching his genitals.
"The whole time I was pretending to sleep," he told police in the interview played in court. The incident only lasted a few seconds before a nurse walked in and Abdelhamid quickly pulled his hands back and left the room. "I felt scared and just wanted to forget about it," he explained when asked by police whether he told anyone what had happened.
The teen said he woke up again around 5 a.m. to find Abdelhamid had returned and was attempting to perform oral sex on him.
"I told him to stop, asked him what he was doing," he said.
Abdelhamid allegedly fled again, and this time the teen rang the buzzer to summon a nurse and disclose what had happened. His parents were notified and police were called in immediately.
Abdelhamid was released on bail following his arrest only to flee the country and end up in Greece. He was arrested and sent back to Canada in May 2011 and has remained in custody since.
Abdelhamid spent a total of nine months in custody in Greece, and has now been in jail for 27 months in Canada. Minuk argued today those 27 months should be given double-time credit of 54 months, because his arrest pre-dates legislative changes banning the two-for-one credit.
As a result, Minuk claims his client has already served the equivalent of a 63 month sentence. He said other precedents in Canada show a range of one-to-three years would be proper punishment.
The Crown argued today Abdelhamid should be given no credit for his pre-trial custody, because he is the author of his own demise considering he was given bail only to mess up. They want an addition six or seven years behind bars – a request Minuk called "vengeful."
Once released from prison, Abdelhamid will be deported from Canada, court was told.