Child molester’s breach sentence reduced because of Aboriginal heritage

Judges must take Indigenous background into account at sentencing

An admitted Langley child molester’s sentence for violating his terms of release by drinking has been shortened by B.C.’s Court of Appeal, which said the sentencing judge failed to account for the man’s Aboriginal background.

Kelly Glen Isbister pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual touching of a person under the age of 16 years in 2014 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

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One count occurred after Ibister was already facing two previous charges.

The appeal court ruling, dated April 12 but released April 18, said Isbister groomed the teenaged boys, who were 14 at the time of the offences, by befriending them, giving them alcohol, drugs and cash. He offended over a long period of time, for over a year with two of the youths and for three months with the third. He participated in anal intercourse and oral sex with them and took pornographic photos.

Isbister participated in no prison treatment programs for sex offenders or substance abuse, and was assessed as a high risk to re-offend, the court said.

A release order stipulated Isibister, an admitted alcoholic, not consume alcohol or go to liquor stores.

“On October 15, 2018, he did both,” Justice Elizabeth Bennett said in her decision.

He pleaded guilty to the breach charges and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.

That sentencing was the issue before the appeal court.

Part of sentencing of an Aboriginal person involves the creation of a so-called Gladue report, through which the court can pay particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders as required under the Criminal Code of Canada.

“The failure by a sentencing judge to apply the Gladue principles constitutes an error justifying appellate intervention,” Bennett said.

The appeal court three-judge panel agreed unanimously the one-year sentence was inappropriate for the circumstances of the offense and the offender, that the proper sentence would have been 30-90 days.

“The one-year sentence is set aside and a sentence of time served concurrent is substituted in its place,” Justice David Tysoe said.

Isbister was also barred from being in contact with young people.

 

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