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Skipp Anderson sexual assault conviction timely: trial lawyers
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 6:12PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 12, 2018 7:01PM CST
Both the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer in the Skipp Anderson sexual assault trial say the conviction comes at a time when sexual assault cases and victims’ voices are front and centre in society.
“I see, as we all do, that society is being more and more receptive to the voices of people who experience sexual violence and I think this is reflected in this decision,” Crown prosecutor Tamara Rock told reporters after the verdict was handed down Thursday night.
The jury deliberated for nearly seven hours and convicted the 40-year-old nightclub owner of sexually assaulting a then 22-year-old friend in July 2016 after a night of drinking and hot tubbing at Anderson’s home. The jury decided the victim did not consent when Anderson had sex with the man in a spare bedroom after the victim got drunk and blacked out.
“I can only speculate as to what was going through the jurors’ minds, but you’d have to be blind not to acknowledge it’s (sexual assault) certainly something that’s in the public's consciousness right now,” defence lawyer Brad Mitchell said after the decision.
There were 95 sexual assault convictions in Saskatchewan in 2015 and 2016, according to Statistics Canada. There are no comparable numbers for total cases at that time, but the agency says between 2009 and 2014, 55 per cent of sexual assaults in Canada led to a conviction. Some Saskatoon lawyers say when it comes to sexual assault trials, a conviction is rare.
Rock said dealing with police and going through the court process has a “profound” impact on sex assault victims. It’s also difficult for victims to follow through with a complaint.
“The pressure is extraordinary. The speculation that’s put on that person’s actions is profound. It affects them in so many ways,” Rock said.
Rock called the victim in the case brave and strong and she said she’s pleased his voice could be heard.
“I’m hopeful that his experience will allow other people who experienced sexual violence to come forward,” she said.
Rock said sentences for major sexual assault cases begin at three years, but she and Mitchell wouldn’t indicate what sentence they would be arguing for.
Mitchell argued for Justice Ron Mills to grant Anderson a limited amount of time, under strict conditions, to make arrangements for the ownership of Pink Lounge and Nightclub before he be taken into custody. Mills denied the request and Anderson is scheduled back in court on March 6 for sentencing arguments.