A sentencing hearing for Errington Webster, found guilty of indecency charges involving a girl in her early teens, has been postponed again, until Nov. 9.
Webster has been in custody since a jury returned guilty verdicts on three counts of indecent assault on the girl, and one count of gross indecency. The girl recorded the indecent act on her cellphone and the jury viewed that video as part of the Crown’s evidence.
The jury returned their verdicts on June 20 and sentencing was set for Aug. 25 so that a social inquiry report and victim impact report could be prepared.
In August, Justice Charles Quin acknowledged that sentencing was not straightforward. He indicated that Webster, 55, faced the possibility of a long term of imprisonment, a cost order and a request for conditions after release from custody.
Crown counsel Darlene Oko, who conducted the prosecution’s case, suggested devoting half a day to the sentencing hearing. The judge said all three aspects of the hearing were significant and would probably take a full day.
Sentencing was then scheduled for Sept. 14, but all parties accepted that this date might not give enough time to reflect on the issues. Defense attorney Steve McField also advised the court of his commitments. After subsequent discussion with counsel, at Justice Quin’s request, the November date was set.
In Webster’s case, the requested cost order relates to expenses incurred because he called an expert witness who explained the defense of automatism – Webster acting involuntarily and being unable to exercise any control over his actions. This condition was said to have been brought about by the interaction of his blood pressure medication with grapefruit juice and other ingredients in a “belly fat flush” drink he had been taking the day the girl took the video.
The Crown had to incur extra costs in calling a psychiatrist and a forensic toxicologist to reply to this testimony.
The request for a conditions of release order would be to protect the public or a particular member of the public from sexual harm, which could be physical or psychological.