Warning: The story contains graphic detail, which some readers may find disturbing.
A Port Alberni man who sexually assaulted and choked sex trade workers has been sentenced to six years in jail by a judge at provincial court in Nanaimo.
Stephen Bradley Ewing, 41, entered guilty pleas to three counts of sexual assault with a weapon, threats or causing bodily harm, two counts of sexual assault and one count of attempting to choke to overcome resistance in front of Judge Brian Harvey Sept. 28. Harvey rendered his decision this afternoon, Oct. 27, with Nick Barber, Crown counsel, and Bert King, Ewing’s legal representative, entering a joint sentencing submission.
The incidents occurred in 2018 in Nanaimo and Parksville, with a new charge from an October 2018 incident sworn against Ewing in September.
The incidents involved Ewing arranging to meet with women and girls online and displaying a propensity for violent sex, going against the workers’ pre-determined boundaries, and in some instances, choking. One instance involved workers aged 15 and 16 years, although both Barber and King previously stated Ewing was unaware they were underage.
While Crown originally sought a jail sentence of six years and defence requested between four and six years, King informed Harvey this morning that his client sought the full six years instead. As a result, Harvey delayed his decision till the afternoon.
Ewing surrendered himself and was taken into custody on Sept. 28 in anticipation of Harvey’s decision. He will be credited with 45 days in prison.
In addition, Ewing must comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for life and has a lifetime ban from owning weapons. He will be prohibited, for 15 years after release, from attending a public park, pool, school or community centre where there may be people under 16 years old present. He may not be within two kilometres of any of his victims or access social media.
King told the News Bulletin that he examined case law and sentencing principles in the Criminal Code when considering going with a joint submission. If lawyers aren’t reasonable in front of a judge, clients are treated unreasonably, King said.
“Considering the Crown’s submission, which was fair, but firm and tough, which they’re supposed to be, I was of the view that it was not in [Ewing’s] best interests to start to argue about months or years in this case … after considering Mr. Barber’s very able submission to the court, I had chance to look at the law that he provided and it was my view that a joint submission was more proper,” said King.
Barber said he did not wish to comment.