Michael Christie

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Outrage at sex crime sentences
WebPosted Sep 23 2002 06:46 PM EDT
Halifax, N.S. – Some people are saying recent sentences handed out to a doctor and a former police chief for sex crimes send the wrong message and set the wrong precedent.

 

For 30 years, Michael Christie was a respected family doctor in Sheet Harbour. Now he’s a convicted child molester, found guilty of abusing three of his own teenaged patients.

 

His sentence, handed down last Friday, was not jail but a conditional sentence: 18 months imprisonment in his own home.

 

“I’m appalled,” says Lyn Barrett, spokeswoman for the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. “I think conditional sentencing has its place, but it has no place in sentencing for sexual assault or family violence.”

 

Conditional sentences, such as Christie’s house arrest, were introduced six years ago to reduce Canada’s comparatively high rate of incarceration.

 

Victims rights groups say conditional sentences shouldn’t be used for sex assaults, especially involving children.

 

On the same day Christie was sentenced to house arrest, Hantsport’s police chief was sentenced to one year in jail for sexually assaulting a girl under 16.

 

Dal law professor, Archie Kaiser, says the inconsistency in sentencing is one of several reasons the Crown should appeal the Christie sentence.

 

“This strikes me as a benchmark case,” says Kaiser. “The Court of Appeal should consider if the judge has exceeded the boundaries of a conditional sentence.”

 

House arrest is used in cases where the offender is deemed to not pose a danger to the public. In the Christie case, all of the offences happened during medical exams, something he is no longer able to do since he was stripped of his licence.

was a respected family doctor in Sheet Harbour. Now he’s a convicted child molester, found guilty of abusing three of his own teenaged patients.

 

His sentence, handed down last Friday, was not jail but a conditional sentence: 18 months imprisonment in his own home.

 

“I’m appalled,” says Lyn Barrett, spokeswoman for the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. “I think conditional sentencing has its place, but it has no place in sentencing for sexual assault or family violence.”

 

Conditional sentences, such as Christie’s house arrest, were introduced six years ago to reduce Canada’s comparatively high rate of incarceration.

 

Victims rights groups say conditional sentences shouldn’t be used for sex assaults, especially involving children.

 

On the same day Christie was sentenced to house arrest, Hantsport’s police chief was sentenced to one year in jail for sexually assaulting a girl under 16.

 

Dal law professor, Archie Kaiser, says the inconsistency in sentencing is one of several reasons the Crown should appeal the Christie sentence.

 

“This strikes me as a benchmark case,” says Kaiser. “The Court of Appeal should consider if the judge has exceeded the boundaries of a conditional sentence.”

 

House arrest is used in cases where the offender is deemed to not pose a danger to the public. In the Christie case, all of the offences happened during medical exams, something he is no longer able to do since he was stripped of his licence.

Public Prosecution Service

March 22, 2000 1:42 PM

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service will file a direct
indictment charging Dr. William Michael Christie of Sheet
Harbour, N.S., with two counts of sexual assault under Section
271 of the Criminal Code.

The charges stem from complaints made by two male patients.
Following a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22, the accused was
discharged.

After a careful review of the facts, the Public Prosecution
Service concluded the preliminary inquiry judge erred by failing
to consider evidence given by an expert witness. The service
decided to file a direct indictment, which sends Mr. Christie
directly to trial in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

“Proceeding by way of a direct indictment is the appropriate
course of action for the Crown to pursue because it expedites the
matter,” said Martin Herschorn, acting director of the Public
Prosecution Service. “The case involves young complainants and
it’s in the public interest to move forward as quickly as
possible.”

Paul Bolo, who represented the Crown at the preliminary inquiry,
will prosecute the case.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

In spite of being discharged after a preliminary hearing, a

Sheet Harbour doctor will be sent to trial on two charges of

sexual assault.

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service announced today

it will file a direct indictment against Dr. William Michael

Christie.

The service says it’s taking this step because the

preliminary hearing judge didn’t consider the testimony of an

expert witness.

The charges stem from complaints made by two male patients.

-30-

Contact: Chris Hansen
Public Prosecution Service
902-424-2225
Cell: 902-424-5530
E-mail: hansence@gov.ns.ca