A P.E.I. man who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman in her own home sentenced to only six months in jail.
Gregory William Lunn, age 32, has pleaded guilty to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, to committing sexual assault on a sleeping woman, who he had known prior.
Lunn will face 6 months of jail time, the mandatory minimum for sexual assault, along with 2 years of parole.
To some, this sentencing may seem like a light slap on the wrist for the egregiousness of the act.
“A sleeping person cannot give consent. There is no doubt Mr. Lunn committed sexual assault and it must be denounced and he must face justice,” said Crown prosecutor Gerald Quinn to the courtroom during the sentencing.
According to the agreed facts, Lunn entered the victim’s home after taking a taxi to the residency. He then got into bed with the victim, and initiated sexual intercourse. The woman woke up and told him to stop. He did so. An argument then ensued, ending with Lunn being told to leave, which he then did.
Lunn was convicted in 2017 of dangerous driving causing death. Lunn was also charged with committing an indictable offence during a break and enter. He was found not guilty of that charge.
In the current #MeToo climate, one would think that courtrooms across Canada and the United States would be weary of such light sentencing of violent acts of a sexual nature. More people are paying attention than ever before, and sentences that seem lighter than expected will definitely be under more scrutiny than in times recent.
But there’s two sides to every coin. When looking into why sentences are so low, we need to understand that a lot of the times, judges have their hands tied as to what they can actually do. Headlines will tell you how long a rapist will go to prison for, but the sentence and the headline do not properly tell you about the nuances of the courtroom.
There are things that a judge may see that the regular civilian may not even consider. Is the defendant rehabilitable? Is the defendant at risk of being a repeat offender? Are there mental health issues at play? Was the defendant off their medication, and should that play into the sentencing overall?
Judges do their best to give the appropriate sentencing, that is certain. But they still must abide by the rule of law, as sentencing should not be affected by public outcry and online outrage.
Of course, there is room for mercy and rehabilitation. But sentencing someone to half a year of prison time for such a disgusting and harmful act does not feel right, nor does it look good. It could be seen as downplaying the problem by some, and the brief sentencing definitely does not serve as any kind of deterrent.
It’s yet another incident to tack onto an ever growing list of crimes with sentences that don’t seem to quite seem to line up.
In November of 2018, a Newfoundland man was sentenced to only 4 years of jail time after having explicit chat conversations with a 14 year old girl, and then proceeding to meet up with her. The man then got the young girl intoxicated with alcohol and tobacco, and proceeded to engage with her in his car.
The Newfoundland judge said he gave a man, age 36, who sexually assaulted a teenage girl a shorter prison sentence than he considered appropriate because he felt bound to accept a joint Crown-defence submission for only four years.
Another case with sentencing that at first glance raises questions was the details surrounding a Calgary man, age 20, who raped and recorded a woman, age 17, who had passed out at a party. The recordings were then posted on Facebook. The man was given a sentence of just over 2 years.
It really begins to call into question whether the code of law takes into account how devastating sexual assault and violence of that nature really can be. These types of incidents can cause years of damage to one’s self esteem, self worth, and overall mental health.
The types of damage that survivors of sexual assault face lasts far longer than a 6 month, 2 year, or 4 year sentence. Victims of abuse who have gone through the stressful and meticulous legal system and find their abusers guilty should, at the very least, feel as though justice has been served.
This type of behaviour is absolutely not something that we as Canadians should tolerate, and perhaps a closer look is needed. What better time than now?