A 24-year-old man will spend two years, less a day, in a provincial jail for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in Parksville in 2017.
Jacob Edkins, 24, stood trial in December, was found guilty by Judge Robin Baird on Jan. 16, and was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo Tuesday. According to Baird’s judgement, Edkins, 22 at the time, worked with the victim, who is subject to panic attacks and whose identity is protected. She was also Edkins’s superior at a restaurant. Both were working a 4-11 p.m. shift on Jan. 6, 2017, after which Edkins gave the victim a ride home. After the victim got home, she and Edkins agreed to meet up and he picked her up around 2 or 3 a.m.
They drove down to Parksville’s waterfront, according to judgment documents, and consumed alcohol that had been brought by Edkins. Inside the van, he asked her if she wanted to engage in sexual intercourse and while the two people’s accounts vary, Baird said the victim expressed “considerable reluctance” about having sex and “in [Baird’s] view, the accused was on very clear notice early on that his sexual ambitions were not shared.”
The victim stepped out and smoked a cigarette and Edkins joined her. After talking they got back into the van, at which time, the victim said Edkins climbed on top of her in the front passenger seat. She told him to stop and she didn’t want to have sex, something Edkins denied in his testimony, but Edkins continued despite this.
Edkins was said to have performed oral sex on her and the victim was “pretty sure” she told him she didn’t want to, although she also said she was hyperventilating and in shock.
Court documents also say the two had to work together in subsequent days, which was very uncomfortable for the victim. On the second day, she fired him, telling him he made her and others feel uncomfortable and cited below-par work performance. The sexual incident was not discussed, the documents said.
Edkins was upset, consumed alcohol and later returned to the workplace and caused a scene, according to Baird’s judgment. He returned home and drank more. He said the sex was consensual and offered apologies for “being too persistent.” The victim subsequently went to police.
Catherine Hagen, Crown counsel, sought jail terms of two years to 30 months, while Peter Hertzberg, defence counsel, sought 18 months to two years, less a day.
Baird said he thought the accused was bright, but his perspective when it came to sexual relationships is wrong, particularly in equating reluctance to consent with failure to fight back. There was no doubt that forcing sexual activity on an unwilling partner is a serious crime, said Baird.
According to a psychological assessment, if Edkins continues to remain focused on his own needs, and not that of others, and maintains “backwards and dysfunctional views” of what equates to consensual sexual activity, then there is a high likelihood he will reoffend.
Baird said Edkins didn’t have a previous record and he thinks the accused will be corrected by a combination of a high-end provincial sentence and counselling and treatment.
In addition, Edkins will be ordered to register under the Sexual Offender Informaiton Registration Act for 20 years.