Crown calls for life sentence for Baumgarte

The Crown wants a life sentence for a convicted kidnapper and rapist, a Red Deer court heard Thursday.

The Crown wants a life sentence for a convicted kidnapper and rapist, a Red Deer court heard Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Orest Yereniuk of Edmonton said life in prison is the maximum sentence that can be imposed for kidnapping in Canada.

The sentencing phase of the case against Gerard John Baumgarte, 57, of Red Deer will take another month.

Sentencing was expected to finish today but was extended when defence lawyer Patty MacNaughton was granted permission by Justice Doreen Sulyma to have her client submit to a pre-sentence report and further psychiatric examination.

Baumgarte pleaded guilty Tuesday to six charges including kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, using an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, assault using a knife and falsely representing himself as being a peace officer.

Originally, Baumgarte was charged with 12 offences in the incident that began on Feb. 26 and ended two days later when he released the then-16-year-old Penhold student.

The other charges were withdrawn.

Yereniuk spent most of Thursday afternoon reciting Canadian court cases in which lengthy sentences have been handed to kidnappers and rapists.

In most instances the sentences ranged between 15-20 years depending on circumstances.

It’s expected a fight will develop between the defence and the Crown on the imposition of a maximum number of years the accused must serve before he’s eligible to apply for parole.

Yereniuk said forcible confinement is growing rapidly in Canada and especially Alberta where it has the highest rate in the country.

He said in 2007 Alberta recorded 528 forcible confinements including 251 outside the two largest cities.

“We also have a major sexual assault that be should be sentenced accordingly,” Yereniuk said.

The girl, who cannot be named by a court order, was driving home at about 9:40 p.m. after taking a quick trip to a nearby convenience store in Penhold.

Posing as a police officer, Baumgarte pulled up and stopped beside the young driver just outside her home. His car was equipped with red and flashing lights.

He wore a fur hat similar to that worn by RCMP officers and his clothing had RCMP flashes and a yellow strip down the pant legs similar to Mounties.

He told the victim he was going to write her a ticket because the licence plate on her vehicle was expired.

Baumgarte asked the girl to get into his car. Once inside, he held a knife to her face and slashed her cheek when she struggled.

He then pointed an imitation handgun at her and forced her to wear ski goggles which had been painted black over the lenses, Yereniuk said.

The girl was then tied up. He then put her in the trunk of his vehicle and took her to his residence in north Red Deer.

She was confined for 46-and-a-half hours and during that time, he sexually assaulted her seven times, Yereniuk said.

Baumgarte later released the girl and gave her some money so she could call her parents. She called from a Red Deer shopping mall.

Following today’s sentencing arguments the case will be adjourned until Dec. 7 to continue the arguments followed by Sulyma’s sentence imposition.

Baumgarte sat erect in the prisoner docket with his head barely moving, pressed against the wall. He showed virtually no emotion.

The adjournment was granted after MacNaughton argued that portions of a psychiatric report conducted after August shouldn’t be heard by the court.

MacNaughton said she only received the document last weekend.

She said some comments by the psychiatrist were inappropriate and couldn’t be challenged by the defence in court without questioning the doctor.

She argued for a complete new psychiatric report performed by another doctor.

However, Yereniuk said that would be a “colossal waste of resources.”

Sulyma agreed with the Crown but ordered the same doctor to perform and refine his report.

A probation officer will prepare a speedy pre-sentence report. Similar reports usually take six to eight weeks.

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