Two years after lenient sentencing was given to a Kelowna mother for sexually assaulting her daughter, an appeal was granted to add on additional years of imprisonment.
On April 11, a Crown lawyer’s application to appeal a Dec. 13, 2021 decision by a now retired judge was approved.
Initially, the mother was sentenced to a 23-month conditional sentence, which is served in the community. Two years later, three B.C. Supreme Court judges changed the sentence to three years of imprisonment.
The judges in the appeal case ruled that “the sentencing judge erred in principle and imposed a sentence that failed to give adequate effect to the gravity of the offence and the appellant’s high moral blameworthiness.”
In the case, the child alleged that her mother digitally penetrated and kissed her vagina. The child said that she tried to physically protect herself from the sexual touching as it unfolded, but that her mother would not stop.
The mother is known to have suffered with substance use disorder and was allegedly intoxicated on the night of the incident. She has since attended rehabilitation.
Since being removed from her mother’s care, the child has made “incredible progress,” despite the emotional toll of the trauma, that previously left her “hiding in a closet crying” on multiple occasions.
At the time of the appeal hearing, the mother was in prison after allegedly breaching the terms of the conditional sentence.
During the appeal, the Crown said that the original judge erred by “incorrectly” interpreting that penitentiary sentences are reserved for repeat child sexual and inadequately considering the harms associated with the mother’s conduct.
The three judges in the appeal agreed to set aside the 23-month conditional sentence order and replace it with the sentence of 36 months’ imprisonment, backdated to Dec. 13, 2021.
The judges also placed a non-communication order that the mother may not contact her daughter, as well as her sister, with whom the daughter lives.