Man sentenced for downtown Red Deer sexual assault

Victim was assaulted in April 2016 near Sorenson bus station

A Red Deer man who sexually assaulted a woman in downtown Red Deer in 2016 was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Monday.

Daniel Leonard, 40, pleaded guilty to sexual assault on the morning a two-day trial had been scheduled to begin.

Crown prosecutor Dominique Mathurin said Leonard approached his 29-year-old victim near the Sorenson bus station and offered her drugs. At first she said no but then accepted and went with him to a fenced area nearby on April 8, 2016.

Leonard told her he had a knife and “she was going to get naked or he would kill her.”

He inserted his fingers into her vagina and anus. When she screamed he got up and ran away.

The next day his victim went to the RCMP and later identified Leonard in a police line-up.

A joint submission from the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer Robin Snider asked for a sentence of 952 days, based on the 635 days Leonard has served in the Red Deer Remand Centre with 1.5 days credit given for each day.

The Crown prosecutor withdrew a charge of making death threats.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky questioned the joint submission, noting sexual assault sentences usually start at three years. As well, Leonard has three prior sexual assault convictions from 2014 for which he was sentenced to two years in prison.

Mathurin said while the Crown believed it had a reasonable chance of conviction at trial there were “try-able” issues, including drug use by the victim.

Snider said her client said in a statement that he had had prior transactions with the complainant and there had been consent to sexual activity but a disagreement over a transaction had arisen.

“There were certainly some credibility issues here,” she said.

By pleading guilty, the victim was spared coming to court to testify.

Leonard has struggled with drug issues, said Snider. While in Red Deer Remand Centre he was assaulted twice but did not report the incidents. On a third occasion, he was sexually assaulted and reported the attack, which led to charges against another inmate.

As a result, he was kept in segregation for his safety.

Slawinsky accepted the joint submission while adding two years of probation, including the condition Leonard undertake any drug addiction or other treatment directed by the probation officer. Leonard must also provide a DNA sample, is banned from owning and firearms for life and his name must remain on a sexual offender registry for life.

The victim’s identity is protected under a publication ban.

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