Victim testifies ahead of sentencing for former St. Thomas officer
A former St. Thomas police constable who pleaded guilty to sexual interference was in court on Wednesday ahead of a sentencing hearing next month.
Garry Christiansen arrived at the Elgin County Courthouse accompanied by his lawyer Lucas O'Hara.
Because there was no trial following Christiansen's guilty plea, a procedure called a Gardiner Hearing was required to establish the facts of the case before the judge sets the sentence.
The victim, who is now 19 years old with a child, took the stand. She was questioned by Crown Attorney Jason Nicol and the defence.
The complainant stated there were two instances of intercourse. One three months before she turned 16 and another one a week before her 16th birthday.
She raised her voice on the stand as she went into details about the second incident, which she said involved restraints and intercourse.
"He then cried for five minutes after...Because he knew what he did wrong," she told the court.
The defence argued that she had talked to the Ontario's Special Investigations Unit five times, but this was the first time they had ever heard those details.
The defence also brought up reasonable doubt, but the accused was adamant she was telling the truth. At times, she put her hands over her face and appeared to be distraught.
Under questioning Christiansen rarely looked at the complainant, but he showed frustration.
Victim impact statements were read aloud in court, from both the victim and her mother.
Christiansen also read a statement apologizing to family, friends and the police service.
To the complainant he said, "I take full responsibility. I didn't wake up that morning with the intention of hurting you. I had no moral or lawful right to get involved with you."
The Crown is asking for 40 months in custody if Justice George Orsini determines the two had intercourse before the victim turned 16, but only 30 months if there is any reasonable doubt.
The defence is seeking 18-24 months at the Ontario Correctional Institute followed by probation.
The case returns to court on Oct. 11 when Orsini will hand down a sentence.