A 44-year-old Lajord man could be facing jail time for failing to report to RCMP as a condition of being a registered sex offender.
Roy Nichols and his lawyer Rod Simaluk appeared in Moose Jaw Provincial Court on Thursday for sentencing in front of Judge Brian Hendrickson. Nichols pleaded guilty to the charges.
Crown prosecutor Rob Parker presented the court with Nichols’ prior criminal record, which included four previous sexual assault convictions and said it is a matter of public safety.
The Crown said Nichols’ complied with reporting from 2010 to 2019, but on March 20, 2020, he failed to report. His last known whereabouts at the time was Holdfast, but he was no longer living there and it was on the onus of the registrant to report.
The Crown was seeking 90 days of incarceration and presented case law from other jurisdictions.
In the defense's submissions, Simaluk presented the court with a letter of support from Nichols’ employers and said since he was released from jail in 2010, he had been employed and complying with reporting as a sex offender.
Simulak said in March of 2020, Nichols knew he had to report. Living in Lajord now, Nichols went to the RCMP “F” Division on March 17, 2020, but was not allowed to enter because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Simulak, Nichols was given a phone number to call. He called that day and left and message.
Simulak added that Nichols changed his cell phone number after making that phone call and did not report it to the RCMP. After that, Nichols “buried his head in the sand” in the fear that if he reported he would be in trouble.
“He took step one, but he didn’t take further steps,” Simulak told the court.
Simulak asked for either a period of probation or an intermittent sentence that Nichols can serve on the weekend so he can continue with his employment.
Judge Hendrickson asked Parker what the Crown’s position is for an intermittent sentence to which Park said he had no position and couldn’t comment one way or another.
Hendrickson looked to clarify whether the phone call Nichols’ made could be considered reporting to the RCMP. Simulak replied that it was an imperfect report, the onus was on Nichols to make sure he was properly reporting and that Nichols would like the matter resolved.
Hendrickson said he was going to reserve his decision. While the case law presented to him was from lower courts in other jurisdictions so he is not bound by them, Hendrickson wanted to take time to review them to see if there is any merit.
“I have to think about what would be an appropriate sentence and I need to read the cases. This is the first time I’ve been able to look at these cases,” Hendrickson said.
Nichols will be back in court on Thursday, Aug. 18, at Moose Jaw Provincial Court at 9:30 a.m. for Hendrickson’s decision.