Former political candidate Errington Albert Webster is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, March 6, following his convictions last year on three counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency, all involving a girl in her early teens.
Justice Charles Quin set that date on Wednesday after hearing submissions from Crown Counsel Darlene Oko and defense attorney Jonathon Hughes. Ms. Oko, who prosecuted the case, suggested a sentence on the high side of a three to six year range.
Mr. Hughes, who did not represent Mr. Webster during his trial, suggested the appropriate range was 16 months to four years.
The defense attorney for the trial was Steve McField. Ms. Oko referred to a pre-sentencing report indicating that Mr. Webster blamed Mr. McField for his conviction, he blamed the jury being influenced by reporters, he blamed the entire judicial system and he blamed the victim.
“He accepts no responsibility and he demonstrates no remorse,” she said.
The writer of a victim impact report said her opinion was that the girl had suffered much trauma, but remained strong-willed to overcome future suffering.
The offenses occurred between late 2015 and mid-2016. The charges could have been heard in Summary Court, but Mr. Webster elected Grand Court and trial by jury. The trial was held in June 2017. Evidence included a video the girl made on her phone; it showed Mr. Webster touching himself and asking the girl to participate. That act led to the charge of gross indecency.
Mr. McField had said Mr. Webster, 55 at the time of his trial, had a defense of automatism. That meant he did not remember what he did and was not conscious of what he did. A psychiatrist gave evidence about the possible interaction of Mr. Webster’s medications with grapefruit juice. He concluded that Mr. Webster was in a state of delirium at the time the video was taken.
Mr. Hughes asked the court to consider Mr. Webster’s previous good character, his community work, the impact of this matter on Mr. Webster’s family, emotionally, physically and financially. He was not trying to undermine the seriousness of what Mr. Webster had been convicted for, but he submitted that it was not the most serious of this type of offense.
Both counsel also addressed the court on the subject of a “sexual harm prevention order,” which the Crown was applying for after Mr. Webster’s release from prison. He has been in custody since the jury’s verdicts, all of which were unanimous.