Judge to decide on long-term offender designation for Shane Pattison Thursday
Warning: Graphic content
A Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench judge is expected to decide Thursday whether to deem repeat child pornography offender Shane Dale Pattison a long-term offender after a three-day hearing.
Crown and defence lawyers have filed a joint-submission seeking a long-term offender designation for Pattison and a seven-year prison sentence followed by a 10-year supervision order.
Justice Richard Danyliuk must find Pattison is at a high-risk to reoffend but that the risks he poses could eventually be managed in the community in order to apply the designation.
Pattison was deemed a low-risk to reoffend when he first arrived at Saskatchewan Penitentiary in 2012 after being sentenced to five years for 53 child porn-related offences. Although parole officers testified during the hearing they believed Pattison’s risk to be higher than that, the low-risk status stayed with him. That status, combined with the fact that Pattison didn’t commit any hands-on abuse of children, denied him from receiving any treatment in prison.
Federal sexual offender programming doesn’t address Pattison’s needs and could put him at risk for committing more serious offences, according to parole officer Jessika Diks.
Pattison was caught reoffending weeks after his statutory release and pleaded guilty to 42 more counts of child porn-related charges in June.
Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said Pattison wasn’t given the opportunity to receive treatment and potentially stop reoffending.
“(Pattison) slipped through the cracks of the system and I would be very surprised if that were to occur again,” Pffeferle said in his closing submission Wednesday.
He added when Pattison was sentenced to a federal institution the first time, the judge noted that was in part so he could receive federal treatment.
Pattison showed an interest and willingness to receive treatment but wasn’t given the opportunity, according to Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli.
She said, as it stands now, Pattison poses a substantial risk to reoffend. Psychologist Dr. Tarah Hook testified that “on paper” there’s a 45 per cent chance Pattison will reoffend within a year, but that his actual risk of offending again is higher than that.
Danyliuk said he doesn’t want a “do over” of the last sentence in which Pattison received no programming. Danyliuk said if Pattison doesn’t get treatment this time around he won’t be able to be managed in the community. He said it’s “incomprehensible” that an offender like Pattison was denied programming.
Intake parole officer Brandon Pocha testified there is a new stream of sexual offender programming and that it would be highly unlikely Pattison won’t receive treatment during this sentence.
Sgt. Darren Parisien testified Tuesday Pattison’s collection of child pornography focused on very young females – from babies to eight year olds. He said Pattison told him he was afraid to have children because, even though he wanted to stop offending, he couldn’t.
Pattison has one son who is looked after by his mother. Pattison has maintained he would never physically harm a child and that he prefers females to males, according to a psychological assessment.
The police’s investigation into Pattison led to more than 1,300 other investigations into child pornography and the rescuing of dozens of children, according to Parisien.
Morelli said there is no offender “quite like him” in North America and that to ensure public safety Pattison should be deemed a long-term offender and receive a lengthy prison sentence where he could get treatment.
“The best way protect society is to rehabilitate the offender,” she said.
Danyliuk is set to hand down his decision Thursday morning at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench.
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