UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Former Pitt Meadows councillor Dave Murray has been sentenced to nine months in custody for sexual assault.

Murray was found guilty of sexual assault in October 2017 by Judge Deirdre Pothecary.

He was sentenced today in Port Coquitlam provincial court.

Judge Pothecary said sentences have been rising for sexual assaults against children “as society recognizes the horrific consequences.”

She also noted in sentencing that Murray hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life. The female investigator, said the judge, posed as someone who needed the victim’s advice, and made tapes of their conversations.

The judge ordered that those tapes be destroyed after the appeal process expires.

Judge Pothecary also said a conditional sentence would not meet required deterrence.

Probation conditions for Murray include a ‘no go’ to Pitt Meadows except driving through, as well as no contact with the victim or her family, and counselling as directed by a probation officer.

Murray is also not allowed to be in possession of firearms for 10 years and must submit a DNA sample.

Furthermore, he is not to work or volunteer with children under 16 years old.

Crown counsel Wendy Wakabayashi asked for nine to 12 months of “real jail” time. Defence lawyer Bob McRoberts requested a six-month conditional sentence, or house arrest.

Murray was first charged on Nov. 16, 2016 with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference with a person under the age of 14 in relation to an incident in 1992. But Crown counsel asked for the second charge to be stayed, citing an inability to confirm whether the complainant was 13 or 14 at the time of the alleged assault.

Murray pleaded not guilty and elected a trial by provincial judge.

He remained on council, to which he was first elected in 2011, and attended regular meetings, as well as community events. He resigned as of January.

Wakabayashi said in court Wednesday that Murray had bought the girl clothing and taken her for dinner. On the day of the offence, he asked her to come into work early, and sexually assaulted her in the back of the store. The victim finished the day at work, but did not return.

Wakabayashi said although no minimum sentencing was in place at the time of the offence, and the constitutionality of minimum sentences is in doubt, they show that Parliament and courts take offences against young people by adults very seriously.

“Offending against children is always an aggravating feature,” she said in her submission, which took just over and hour.

Wakabayashi also said Murray was in a “quasi position of trust,” and that there was a significant age gap between him and his victim. Another aggravating factor she said was that the offence included genital touching.

Wakabayashi agreed with the mitigating factors that Murray has no criminal record, the offence is dated, and there is no indication of subsequent offences. She also said he has the positive support of family and friends.

She said Murray is not a risk in the community and the offence “seems to be a singular incident.”

However, she emphasized there is a trend away from conditional sentences when children are the victims.

The victim, whose identity if protected by a publication ban, read an impact statement in court.

She said she “felt unsafe in the world,” and that persons in authority “would hurt me and take what they wanted from me.”

She said the assault made her unsure of whether it was okay to be a girl and be attractive.

“What you did changed the sacredness of my sexuality,” said the victim. “I thought what you did was my fault, and punished myself for it.

“A piece of me disappeared that I can never get back.”

She spoke about how she ran into Murray in Pitt Meadows, and she stopped going to the gym and attending community events.

Members of the audience cried as she read her statement.

Defence counsel McRoberts noted that in Murray’s seven years on council, he worked for social causes, including a living wage policy and affordable daycare.

He noted that a forensic psychiatric report found Murray is no threat to re-offend.

The defence had a letter of reference on Murray’s behalf, written by Don Van Os, who said Murray volunteered as an assistant in helping coach basketball at Terry Fox secondary and that Murray was “always professional in his dealings with the girls.”

Judge Pothecary agreed it was a positive report.

McRoberts said the conviction had an “immediate and direct impact” on Murray, who was asked to resign from Pitt Meadows council, and was terminated from his employment with the Port Coquitlam Parks and Recreation department. McRoberts said the result has been “a severe financial loss” to Murray.

Murray applied for stress leave, but was denied.

Media interest in Murray’s case has brought shame and embarrassment to him, McRoberts said.

“It’s taken a huge toll on Mr. Murray.”

McRoberts said a period depression and hospitalization followed Murray after his conviction.

McRoberts said the shame brought on by the publicity of the trial is, in itself, a deterrent and denunciation, and that a jail sentence for Murray would not benefit society.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

“Say cheese, uh, apple… nine-year-old Jason Moran and mum Bonnie are all smiles over a number of sales made during “apple day” of local cubs and beavers. Jason, a wolf cub, was one of 22 boys who, with the ready assistance of mothers, sold several boxes of apples in money-raising scheme for various projects.” (<em>The Lake News</em> Nov. 26, 1980)
Flashback: Crime wave, canoe misfortune and a highway lawsuit

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Following too closely

Maintaining a buffer in front of your vehicle gives you time to recover from inattention

Sonia Furstenau
Sonia Furstenau column: MLA vows to keep up the fight

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities

Heating cable laid in the cold frame, awaiting the layer of sand. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Greenhouse growing in the winter

I have a heating cable I’ve never used that I’m contemplating putting to work in the cold frame

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Most Read