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Judge denies peace bond changes for Alberni man

A provincial court judge has denied an application by an Alberni man who didn’t want his neighbours notified about a peace bond that forbids him to be in contact with anyone under age 16.

Judge MacCarthy denied the application made by Shaun Pater, 32, in Port Alberni provincial court on Thursday.

Pater’s inconvenience with public notification “Must be trumped by the greater good,” Judge MacCarthy said. “Therefore the peace bond should prevail.”

In the background presentation to MacCarthy, defense lawyer Jordan Watt said that Pater was originally charged with a series of sex offenses stemming from two incidents.

In exchange for the staying the charges, Pater entered into a specific type of peace bond for 12 months that is targeted at persons who police fear will commit a sexual offense against persons under age 16.

Two of the bond’s conditions forbid him to have contact with anyone under age 16, and to stay away from places where persons under 16 congregate.

Because there are people under the age of 16 living in the building where Pater resides, B.C. Corrections policy requires them to notify neighbours of Pater’s bond conditions, and that's the crux of his application. This was what Pater wanted overturned.

Community corrections require that Pater notify them of his residence.

Pater has lived in the same apartment for eight years, and didn’t want his neighbours to be told about his peace bond. If the conditions were removed there'd be no reason for them to be told.

Pater maintains his apartment but is staying with a friend and is inconvenienced by paying rent in two places. He would have concerns for his safety if notification were to occur.

“This is contrary to the presumption of innocence,” Watt said. “He is on bail and not convicted.

“My client just wants to return home to live in peace,” Watt said. “The risk is just not there with him.”

Corrections officials have been difficult to deal with regarding the matter, and Pater is to appear in court later for allegedly threatening one, Watt said.

The corrections service, their policies, and Pater’s dealings with them aren’t before the courts, nor is his inconvenience, prosecutor Gordon Baines said.

“Mr. Pater feeling unnecessarily harassed by corrections’ public notification is not for you to determine,” Baines told MacCarthy.

The order doesn’t prevent Pater from living in his apartment. He can do so, “But corrections has the right to notify the public,” Baines said.

The bond was supposed to be in place for one year and there are three months remaining.

The charges against Pater that were stayed included invitation to sexual touching, sexual touching and sexual assault. A computer disk containing pornographic images of a youth under age 16 was found in Pater’s possession.

The images “aren’t of adults having sex with babies,” Watt said. “It’s a minor that he was in a relationship with.”

Pater agreed to the conditions when he signed the bond, which provides a measure of protection to the public and to persons under age 16, MacCarthy said.

“I would be remiss by permitting significant variation to it,” he said in dismissing the application.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

[Edited to clarify bond conditions.]

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