Luke Strimbold, right, enters the Smithers courthouse May 6 with his lawyer Stan Tessmer, to plead guilty to four sexual assault charges. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Judge reserves sentencing decision in former northern B.C. mayor sex assault case

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has reserved her sentencing decision until next week in the sexual assault case of former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold.

In Smithers today, Madam Justice Brenda Brown heard sentencing arguments from the Crown and defence and an emotional statement from Strimbold himself.

Prosecutor Richard Peck argued for a four to six year sentence saying the Criminal Code clearly makes denunciation and deterrence the overriding principle of sentencing in cases where children are involved.

He acknowledged mitigating circumstances such as Strimbold’s early guilty plea, lack of criminal record and favourable presentence report, but said the minimum for each count should be 12 to 18 months based on case law.

In May, Strimbold pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault involving four boys under the age of 16.

Peck said, because each count involved a different boy and occurred on separate occasions, the sentences must be served consecutively.

Earlier, co-counsel Jeff Campbell outlined the facts of the case noting particularly the aggravating circumstances that Strimbold had been in a position of trust and authority over the boys and had provided alcohol to them.

Campbell entered into evidence a number of victim impact statements clearly outlining the grave harm the assaults had inflicted on the victims and their families including anger, depression, fear, embarrassment, destroyed relationships, lost work and lost school.

For the defence, attorney Stanley Tessmer painted a picture of a compassionate, dependable good person with a long history of volunteer service to his community.

He said, at the time of the offences, Strimbold did not recognize the wrong he was doing due to his own history of sexual abuse, repressed homosexuality and addiction to alcohol. Tessmer outlined the steps Strimbold has taken, including extensive counselling, to address his issues and pointed to a psychological report that assessed Strimbold as being a low risk to reoffend.

He also submitted numerous letters of support from community members and a long list of accolades and awards Strimbold had received over the years, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.

Tessmer countered the Crown’s examples of case law with his own that had more aggravating and/or less mitigating circumstances than Strimbold’s, but in which the offenders received lighter sentences than the Crown is asking for in this case.

Tessmer asked for a global sentence of 18 months, nine months on the first count and three months each on the others. He also asked the judge to recommend Strimbold be incarcerated at the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre, a medium security facility for men in Chilliwack with a premier sexual offender treatment program.

At the end of the hearing, Strimbold adressed the Court choking out an apology through tears.

“I really am deeply sorry to each of [the boys] and will forever be regretful,” he said. “Through my own counselling and journey of identifying myself as being impacted by sexual offence in the past, there was a point when I recognized that and really broke down and seen the hurt that I was in and saw the hurt then that I caused other individuals that will be with them forever.

“It is my hope that they can surround themselves with love and family and get the help that they need so they can live a healthy life. And to the families and to the community that I cared so deeply about, I’m sorry I let you down. And to the individuals and to the victims I want them to know that this was all my doing and they should feel no shame for my actions.”

He promised not to reoffend and to continue his treatment.

Justice Brown said she needed time to assess the submissions and scheduled Dec. 4 to deliver her decision.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Kiera Bourque manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

Summerland councillor’s bid for NDP nomination rejected

Doug Holmes was told provincial executive would not accept his application

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read