The sentencing of a former Lorette teacher convicted of sexually abusing a young girl was delayed but not derailed on Friday, as defence counsel tried to reopen the trial and admit fresh evidence that included an inmate’s handwritten confession.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ken Champagne dismissed the attempt and will sentence Remi Dallaire tomorrow.
Crown prosecutor Danielle Simard argued for a prison sentence of eight years, while defence lawyer Matt Gould suggested five years.
Dallaire was found guilty of sexual interference, inviting sexual touching, and providing sexually explicit material to a child following a trial last September. A conviction for sexual assault was recorded but stayed under a legal principle intended to avoid sentencing redundancies.
The former Ecole Lagimodiere teacher didn’t testify at the trial but maintained he was an innocent man framed by a vengeful ex-partner.
Champagne concluded the facts of the case told a much different story: in June 2016, Dallaire, then 31 and living in Lorette, quickly befriended a single mother and her eight-year-old daughter who had moved into an apartment across the hall.
Within days he was spending unsupervised time alone with the girl that court heard included repeated and graphic instances of touching and sexual assault.
In a victim impact statement referenced in court, the girl wrote that Dallaire ruined her life. She requires weekly counselling and distrusts male authority figures, her mother wrote.
A pre-sentence report deemed Dallaire a medium risk to reoffend. Simard recommended he be banned from schools, community centres, and daycares for 20 years; prohibited from working with children under age 16; and added to the national sex offender registry for life.
Dallaire, wearing ankle shackles, declined an opportunity to address the court.
"I just can’t speak at this moment, sir," he told the judge.
Earlier in Friday’s hearing, Gould argued evidence that surfaced at Headingley Correctional Centre in January warranted reopening the trial.
A fellow inmate confessed in writing to Dallaire’s crimes, then retracted the statement three days later, saying Dallaire had offered him a financial reward.
Gould argued the evidence, while problematic, deserved to be tested at trial.
Simard disagreed, saying the inmate’s story was rife with hearsay and the product of obvious coaching.
"It would be laughable if it weren’t so offensive."
Champagne sided with the Crown, but gave himself five more days to consider the length of Dallaire’s prison term. He noted sentences for sexual offences against minors are escalating in courts across Canada.