R v Kunath: 10 year sentence for two aggravated sexual assaults on infant upheld

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R v Kunath: 10 year sentence for two aggravated sexual assaults on infant upheld

By | 2014-04-23T15:46:00+00:00 20/11/2013|Sentencing, Sexual Assault|0 Comments

In R. v. Kunath, 2013 ABCA 372, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a 10 year sentence imposed after a guilty plea to two counts of aggravated sexual assault committed against a six week old infant. The victim was the child of the accused’s girlfriend. The assaults were extensive and disturbing, involving injuries to the penis and anus of the child, as well as burns likely inflicted by a lighter to the feet of the child.

The Alberta Court of Appeal had signalled, beginning in the case of R. v. Nickel, 2012 ABCA 158 (a case involving serious assaults against an infant which was not sexual in nature), that sentences for assaults on minors required an adjustment towards sentences with a greater emphasis on deterrence and denunciation by way of lengthier jail terms. The Court of Appeal noted that that case had appropriately been considered by the sentencing judge. The sentencing judge found in Kunath that the gravity of the offences was “exceedingly serious” and the harm to the victim and society as a whole was “extreme”. The degree of responsibility of the offender was, the sentencing judge found, at the “highest end of the spectrum”, given that he acknowledged that he had intended to inflict pain in the infant.

In upholding the sentence, the Court of Appeal said:

[27]           The facts of this case were exceptionally egregious and the injuries inflicted on this tiny infant occurred at different times. Even if the sentences were longer than those imposed in previous child abuse cases in Alberta, we cannot say they were unfit. The judge properly characterized the crimes, appropriately considered the facts, and applied the necessary sentencing principles.

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