A former Vancouver television news reporter is appealing his four-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a child.
Lawyers for former Global TV reporter Ron Bencze, 45, called the sentence demonstrably unfit and outside the acceptable range.
Mr. Bencze was initially charged with nine counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching in alleged incidents involving three minors over the course of about a decade. He pleaded not guilty in 2011 to all nine.
In July, Mr. Bencze pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a minor, which began when the boy was seven or eight years old and spanned about seven years. In exchange, Crown counsel stayed the remaining eight charges.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said at the time the Crown had assessed the circumstances as a whole and concluded it was appropriate to proceed on a single count. It represented the most significant allegation that was made against Mr. Bencze, Mr. MacKenzie said.
Crown had recommended a jail sentence of between two and three years, as well as adding Mr. Bencze’s name to the sex offender registry, while Mr. Bencze’s lawyers had sought a conditional sentence of 18 to 24 months followed by probation.
At sentencing in August, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Robin Baird said the Crown’s recommendation was too lenient for the prolonged assault. In addition to the four-year sentence, Judge Baird prohibited Mr. Bencze from owning firearms and attending public areas where children under 16 may be present – such as parks, school grounds, swimming areas and daycares – for 20 years. Mr. Bencze was also required to provide a sample for the National DNA Data Bank.
Mr. MacKenzie had acknowledged at the time it is unusual for a judge to impose a higher sentence than what the Crown is seeking.
With a report from the Canadian Press