Rossland man pleads guilty to sexual interference
Duncan Gary Cameron of Rossland pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual interference at his arraignment hearing in Rossland’s courthouse yesterday, for which the Crown has pursued summary (not indictable) convictions.
The court ordered a pre-sentencing report (PSR) from the probation office, and sentencing may occur at the next court appearance on Dec. 6. At that time, the judge may opt to postpone sentencing pending more information or a more thorough study of the PSR.
“Sexual interference”—Section 151 in the Criminal Code of Canada—means he is charged with touching a person under the age of 16 for sexual purposes.
Summary offences are less serious, like misdemeanours in the American legal lexicon, while indictable offences correspond to felonies. A summary conviction for sexual interference carries a jail term between 90 days and 18 months.
If an offence is deemed indictable, jail sentences range from one to 10 years. Based on the available evidence, the Crown decided Cameron’s offences were not indictable.
Corporal Reid of the RCMP pulled up Cameron’s file, but he could only offer limited information. A publication ban on the case prevents the release of any details that would disclose the identities of victims or witnesses.
“There’s not any press release we’re doing on this file,” he said. “That’s for the privacy of both the victims’ and the accused’s families. As you can imagine, it’s very sensitive and we don’t want to put them through undue hardship.”
When rumours of the case first surfaced in early August, community conversation on the topic inflamed the online Bhubble.com classifieds site. Many comments expressed fear or anger that Cameron had been released after his initial arrest and that he still resides within Rossland.
Reid said, “If we thought there was a concern, obviously we would do something about it. Based on the evidence we have, there is not a concern.”
“In general terms, people don’t often sit in jail to await trial,” he added. “They’re normally released with some kind of conditions awaiting the court date.”
Reid clarified that it is not the RCMP’s role in BC to make decisions about charges or release as these are left entirely to the courts. “We are evidence gatherers,” he said.
He said the court’s decision to release the accused prior to trial depends on “a lot of different variables” such as the nature of offence, the accused’s previous criminal record, and the court’s assessment of the likelihood that he may reoffend.