18 months in prison for a case similar to that of Houle

18 months in prison for a case similar to that of Houle

DAY

A sex attacker who abused his victim virtually identical to the assault for which Simon Houle was absolved was unlucky for the latter, receiving 18 months in prison.

“He sexually assaulted the complainant while she slept in his bed. She thought she was safe. He knew she was vulnerable that night. There has clearly been a breach of trust,” Judge Marie-Josée Di Lallo recently commented before sentencing Robert Mitchell, at the Montreal courthouse.

Mitchell, 57, is a man of who attacked a friend during a trip in 2019. He then took advantage of the woman's drunken state to touch her sexually. 

“She also heard noises as if someone was taking pictures with a cell phone. He took pictures of the victim's body, as well as close-ups of his private parts,” he said.

The victim, who felt betrayed, later isolated from her friends for almost six months. She experienced anxiety, as well as a loss of self-confidence.

No more traveling

These facts are deceptively similar to those in the file of Simon Houle, this engineer who escaped a criminal record, causing a stir last week. 

In the case of Mitchell, however, there does not appear to have been any penetration with his fingers.

Guilty of sexual assault, Mitchell, however, did not dare to ask for an absolution. Aware that he would not escape prison despite a low risk of recidivism according to experts, he instead offered nine months incarceration with a lot of excuses.

“He understands that with a criminal record, he will not be able to travel to meet with his company's suppliers, as he did,” reads the judgment.

Deterrence

As judges regularly remind us, each case has its particularities and it is often difficult to compare cases. In the case of Mitchell, the judge insisted on the accused's breach of trust towards his girlfriend.

“The court must give sufficient weight to the principles of denunciation and deterrence in this type of cause”, recalled the magistrate.

Thus, after taking into account the particularities of the case, she concluded that an 18-month prison sentence was “necessary”. The Crown claimed 30 months. Mitchell will then be on probation for three years during which he will have to undergo therapy.

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