Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Dad who sexually abused daughters may be declared dangerous offender

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A father who confined, raped and tortured his daughters inside his Winnipeg home will have to wait a little longer to learn whether he'll be declared a dangerous offender and locked up in prison indefinitely.

The 49-year-old father has admitted to severely sexually abusing his daughters from 2002 to 2009, when they were between nine and 16. He also photographed and videotaped the acts.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brenda Keyser heard a final submission from the man's defence this morning.

She remanded the case to March 12 when she signalled she may give her verdict.

In recent weeks, Keyser has seen and heard a wealth of evidence Manitoba prosecutors say shows he will always be a grave risk to the public and should be locked up with no set release date until he can prove it's safe enough to set him free.

Even his defence lawyer concedes the crimes were "horrific" and "deplorable."

The father's name can't be published to protect the identity of the victims. Much of the evidence presented at the hearing is too graphic and disturbing for public review.

Winnipeg police have unofficially described it the most significant case of child sexual abuse they've ever uncovered.

A court-appointed psychiatrist who examined the man for the dangerous offender hearing concluded he's a pedophile and a sadist who is a high risk to reoffend without major efforts at therapy and counselling while in custody.

He has a prior conviction from the 1990s for sexually interfering with a boy — a close relative — for which he was given probation but no jail time.

The real issue Keyser must decide is whether there's a reasonable possibility the man's risk could be eventually controlled in the community.

There's more than a "mere hope" that that's the case, defence lawyer Crystal Antila told Keyser.

Antila argued that the man's age and the likelihood he'll serve a prison sentence of at least 10 years should give the court confidence he could be placed on a Long Term Supervision Order (LSTO) and allowed the benefit of a fixed release date.

An LTSO is the equivalent of a supervised probation order of up to 10 years long.

They're reserved for criminals who pose a very high risk but who don't meet the threshold of requiring an indefinite jail term.

The man's offence cycle shows he commits crimes only when he's allowed unfettered access to children, Antila said.

That's something that can't happen at a halfway house, she said, as no kids are allowed, surveillance cameras are watching and there's random searches of rooms by parole officers.

"(He's) not an impulsive, spontaneous offender," Antila said.

Risk-assessment testing done by a doctor hired by the defence shows no probability he'll violently reoffend, Keyser was told.

There's no way to demonstrate with any offender that treatment will take and that person simply won't ever commit another crime, Antila said.

"Risk is always present, because there are no guarantees," she said. The incentive for people on LTSOs is to obey them and not return to jail, said Antila.

The man declined a chance to speak when Keyser offered him one. For much of the dangerous offender hearing, he sat staring at his shoes in the prisoner's dock.

Court previously heard just three of 107 designated dangerous offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada's prairie region have done enough work to win their freedom from prison.

With files from Mike McIntyre

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