Man convicted of assault on senior

A man convicted Friday of the aggravated sexual assault of an elderly woman in Red Deer will now be the subject of a dangerous offender hearing.

A man convicted Friday of the aggravated sexual assault of an elderly woman in Red Deer will now be the subject of a dangerous offender hearing.

Jesse Peter Toews, 26, of Red Deer, was convicted of the sexual assault that occurred on July 29, 2009. The woman who was 77 at the time.

Justice Monica Bast acquitted Toews of robbery and unlawful confinement during her ruling, following a trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Crown prosecutor Anders Quist told court he will make an application to have Toews, who has a lengthy record, to be declared either a dangerous or long-term offender.

Quist will need to make the application, then have it ruled on by Bast.

If he is declared a long-term offender, Toews faces a lengthy period of intensive supervision in the community, immediately following a fixed prison term.

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

He will return to court on Feb. 7 to set a date for the Crown application.

In order to determine whether either designation is a possibility, Bast would agree then to order an assessment of Toews, which is expected to take about two months to complete.

Depending on the results of the report, a date may then be set for a dangerous or long-term offender hearing to take place.

If neither designation is considered appropriate, the matter may proceed to sentencing.

Toews has about two dozen convictions as an adult.

The most serious was a robbery conviction in 2007 in which he received a 15-month jail term.

The elderly victim testified earlier that she was attacked from behind and assaulted while on her way to a nearby grocery store last July.

She said she was attacked on a secluded path in a bushy area just west of Gaetz Avenue and north of 67th Street.

She never saw her attacker’s face.

The woman’s purse was taken, as was more than $100 in cash. She suffered a large gash on the back of her head and numerous other cuts and bruises.

Bast said she found Toews’ testimony Friday was self- serving and suspect.

“Your explanation is not completely plausible,” Bast told Toews.

Defence lawyer Arnold Piragoff argued that Toews’ time line of events should raise doubt.

Toews’ said he was with three other males when the attack occurred between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

However, two of the men testified that they didn’t see Toews after 9:45 a.m. at the latest.

The three men had been staying in a residence just a few hundred metres from the attack site.

Toews denied he attacked the woman.

Bast said the Crown’s case was based on circumstantial evidence.

A key piece of evidence for the Crown was the fact that DNA from semen found on the clothes of the victim belonging to anyone else but the accused was about 12 billion to one.

DNA typing, or genetic fingerprinting, is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles.

Bast said she couldn’t convict Toews on robbery and unlawful confinement because the confinement length wasn’t known since the victim was rendered unconscious for a period.

Bast also said the woman’s purse and money could have been scooped up by someone else walking through the area after the woman went to a nearby store for help.

Toews has been in custody since his arrest in late August 2009.

However, part of that time has been spent serving a sentence for two convictions last August.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com