Despite a recent Supreme Court ruling calling for tougher sentences for child abusers, a judge granted leniency to a former senior federal official by sentencing him to 90 days in prison on weekends for 21 months of abuse sex on a girl.
“I’m still digesting this, I don’t know what to think about it.” I’m torn, because he ruined my life, ”said the Newspaper the victim of Fred Jacques following the judgment rendered this week at the Montreal courthouse.
It is that between 1974 and 1976, Jacques, now 64 years old, brought hell to a 9 year old child. The abuse was frequent and varied and even after all these years the victim still did not fully recover.
“I feel like I have lived the last 50 years in a black box,” she told the court. I was locked there against my will and I don’t know how to get out. “
After he pleaded guilty to indecent assault, the Crown demanded two or three years of incarceration. It was based on the Friesen judgment of the Supreme Court, which recalls that sentences must reflect the priority of protecting children.
However, even if the judge took note of this judgment, she preferred to focus on the rehabilitation of the accused, who led an “exemplary life” after his crimes.
“He made a beneficial contribution to society throughout his life,” said Judge Suzanne Costom, noting that he had volunteered with women victims of violence and that while he was employed by Global Affairs Canada, he worked on human rights policies.
“Her job was very difficult and had a major impact on her mental and physical health,” the judge even said.
For the professor of the Department of Legal Sciences at UQAM, Rachel Chagnon, it is clear that if the judge noted the devastating consequences on the victim, she especially showed empathy for the accused.
“Here is the genius of defense [Me Pierre Poupart] who was able to position his client as a victim too, ”she commented.
Because during the pleadings, Jacques claimed to have at the time been the victim of abuse on the part of an older woman.
“A young man victim of a predatory woman has a lot of potential for sympathy, the victim was no match”, explains the professor, noting that the judge had thus adhered to the speech of the accused.
The magistrate also transcribed the words of the defense, wanting that the crimes of Jacques are limited to “caresses” and “hugs”, while the Supreme Court recommended to put an end to these terms which can give the impression that the crime is less serious.
“I can hardly see how [pénétrer] a 9-year-old can be described as a “caress”, ”the victim told the court.
The Crown has one month to decide whether to appeal the case.