On Sept. 9, Hancock, a resident of the Burin Peninsula, was found guilty in relation to an incident that occurred during a “sleepover” where he was the sole caregiver.
Hancock appeared before Judge Harold Porter at provincial court in Grand Bank Sept.15 for sentencing.
In his written decision, Porter gives a brief account of the events that took place on the night of the offence.
“In brief, while hosting a ‘sleepover’ for some children, he woke the complainant by touching her vagina,” Porter wrote.
The complainant was 14 years old at the time of the offence, Porter noted.
In his decision, Porter listed a number of factors that he took into account on sentencing.
Although there was no physical violence involved in the offence, Porter concluded the impact of the crime upon the victim is clear from the victim impact statement.
“She now has nightmares, is scared to walk by the residence of the accused and is scared to go to the park,” he wrote.
The accused was in a position of trust over the complainant, as he was a caregiver and the sole adult in a residence with four children.
Porter noted the accused gave conflicting accounts of what happened.
“First the accused said he did not remember doing it but, second, he apologized to the complainant when it happened. He also apologized to the complainant’s mother, and he apologized … to the court,” Porter wrote.
“The accused stated he can’t remember anything occurring between himself and the victim. If it did, he stated, it would have been unintentional, as he ‘loves children’ and would do nothing to hurt them.”
Porter added the former partner of the accused, as well as her daughter, aligned with the accused in his denial that anything happened.
“They tend to blame the victim and indicated it to be a fabrication by the victim and her mother,” Porter stated.
This is not the first time that man has been charged with a sexual offence.
“Complicating the sentence calculation is the criminal record of the accused,” Porter noted.
In August 1994, in Supreme Court in Nova Scotia, Hancock pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14.
Counsel for the Crown pointed to the prior conviction as an aggravating factor in sentencing, while counsel for the accused argued that given the passage of four decades, the aggravating factor of that offence must be minimal.
Porter said while it is dated, the accused does have a prior conviction.
“In 1994, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court sentenced the accused to 18 months in jail, followed by probation for two years, for the offence which he had committed in 1973,” Porter stated.
“That record, of a single conviction, 21 years ago, for an offence committed 42 years ago, has limited value. It does not suggest that the accused is a scofflaw. But it does support the thesis that the sentence imposed did not deter the accused from committing another offence. In that respect, it is an aggravating factor on sentence.”
Hancock was sentenced to 270 days in jail. He was credited for time served at a ratio of 1.5 to one reducing his total jail time to 207 days.
Following his release, the accused will be on two years’ supervised probation with conditions that include participating in all counseling or treatment recommended, abstaining from communicating in any way with the victim or her family and staying away from any place where the victim lives or attends school; and he is not to be in the presence of any person under the age of 16 years, unless accompanied continuously by an adult 21 years old or over.
He must also provide a DNA sample and will be registered as a sex offender for 10 years.
Hancock must stay away from, for 10 years, a public park or public swimming area where people under the age of 16 years are or could be present, as well as a daycare, school ground, playground or community centre.
He also cannot work or volunteer anywhere where he is in a position of trust or authority towards anyone under the age of 16 years.
A victim fine surcharge of $100 was ordered to be paid within 30 days.