A Manitoba judge has soundly rejected a sentencing deal for a man who raped his teen girlfriend in a Winnipeg schoolyard, encouraged and then let another do the same to her, and filmed part of the sexual assault on his smartphone.
The two-year-long sentence, one jointly recommended for Gerald Anderson by Crown and defence lawyers, would bring the administration of justice into disrepute, Judge Rocky Pollack ruled on Wednesday.
Pollack instead hiked Anderson’s sentence by a year, meaning Anderson must spend the next two behind bars, instead of one, after his time spent on remand was factored in.
Anderson, 27, and Samual Gott, 20, each pleaded guilty in May to sexual assault in connection with the attack on the 17-year-old victim.
Anderson and the victim were out partying and drinking together early on May 26, 2013, court previously heard.
After leaving a North End home, Anderson raped the heavily-intoxicated girl at a play structure at a school on Powers Street.
Witnesses watching from a nearby apartment block called 911.
As police were on their way, Gott walked up on the scene out of nowhere.
Anderson responded by tossing Gott a condom. He raped the victim without using it.
Police arrived and quickly arrested both men in the vicinity.
They recovered a cellphone from Anderson and discovered a 16-second long video clip of the assault on it.
Pollack described it as a "trophy video" which demonstrated Anderson’s "callous disrespect" for the victim.
Prosecutors previously disclosed they were compelled to offer plea deals to the men with low-end sentence recommendations when the victim and other witnesses didn’t turn up to testify at a May preliminary hearing.
Anderson’s sentencing turned unusual after court was presented with a letter the victim sent to his defence lawyer days after the assault signalling her continued support for him.
She was unco-operative with the prosecution, the Crown said.
The assault "changed my life for the best," she wrote, saying the event got her into therapy.
"I care about this man a lot even though he do this to me… I want to find a way to cancel these charges," Pollack said, quoting from the letter.
Pollack said he had no trouble finding Anderson had committed a major sexual assault on the girl, and that his past criminal record didn’t allow him any leniency.
But, Pollack explained, if he’d gone above handing Anderson two more years of jail, he wouldn’t be eligible for community supervision after he walks free.
Pollack placed Anderson on probation for three years after his sentence ends.
The order includes conditions to have no contact with the victim, take counselling as directed by corrections officials and carry no weapons.
Gott, who lives in Gods Lake Narrows, will be sentenced later this year.
It’s unclear yet of Pollack’s ruling to reject Anderson’s plea deal will affect the outcome of Gott’s case.