Dangerous offender status not warranted for Toews: defence

The man convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a 77-year-old woman fails to meet the requirements to be declared a dangerous offender, his defence lawyer told Red Deer court on Tuesday.

The man convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a 77-year-old woman fails to meet the requirements to be declared a dangerous offender, his defence lawyer told Red Deer court on Tuesday.

Jesse Toews, 27, was tried and convicted in January 2011 of the beating and sexual assault of the elderly woman while she was walking to the grocery store on a secluded path in the Red Deer subdivision of Glendale on the morning of July 29, 2009.

If declared a dangerous offender, Toews would be imprisoned indefinitely.

Defence lawyer Arnold Piragoff argued in court that Toews’ risk to the community could eventually be controlled so he should be designated a long-term offender instead.

Long-term offenders serve a minimum of two years in prison, followed by supervision not exceeding 10 years.

Piragoff recommended to Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast that Toews be sentenced to more than two years, but less than 10, in prison, along with 10 years of community supervision.

On Monday, the Crown argued that Toews should be declared a dangerous offender because the risk he poses can’t be managed in the community.

But if the court sentenced Toews as a long-term offender, the Crown recommended he serve a 15-year prison sentence, followed by 10 years of supervision.

Piragoff said Toews’ criminal record was unremarkable, except for his robbery conviction, and didn’t justify dangerous offender designation.

Toews has about two dozen convictions as an adult, including 12 breaches of probation.

“Not complying with probation is not unusual for offenders and cannot translate into dangerous offender designation,” said Piragoff during his closing arguments on the final day of the dangerous offender and sentencing hearing for Toews.

The defence lawyer said one medical expert testified that while Toews was a substantial risk to re-offend, he was not a psychopath. He said he was treatable and would benefit from prolonged treatment as a long-term offender.

Piragoff said the unproven threats that came out in hearing testimony, allegedly made by Toews towards women in his life and others, were “hollow.”

In letters that Piragoff read in court, Toews’ mother said her son “would give you the shirt off his back to help you.”

She said the medical and school systems failed her son. With a Grade 5 education level, it was difficult for him to understand what people told him so it was hard for him to hold a job or comply with court orders.

Piragoff said a staff member at the Red Deer Remand Centre said Toews had become “a model inmate.”

Toews, who spoke to the court at the end of the hearing, said he wants to find out what is wrong with him and wants to get better.

“If I’m released from custody, I am going to admit myself into Ponoka hospital (Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury) and be there as long as I need to be,” Toews said.

Toews will be sentenced on April 16.

He has been held in custody since turning himself in nine days after the attack on the woman in Red Deer.

Toews, who was convicted based on evidence that included DNA from semen found on the victim’s clothes, denies responsibility.

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