A low-functioning Kamloops man snared by online vigilantes after arranging to meet a fictitious 12-year-old girl for sex is afraid to go to prison.
Lawyers are arguing on Monday sentencing provisions for Doug Fawcett, 51, who has pleaded guilty to one count of child luring stemming from an incident more than two years ago.
Fawcett began chatting with a person he believed to be a young girl in the final days of 2016, a conversation that continued for more than a month. On Feb. 3, 2017, he arranged to meet the girl, whom he believed to be 12, at a downtown Kamloops coffee shop.
The fictitious girl was actually a grown woman posing as a young person as part of a Kelowna-based group called Creep Catchers, which sets up online profiles and engages in chat conversations with adults allegedly looking to meet children for sex.
Fawcett was confronted by members of Creep Catchers when he showed up to meet the fake girl. Video of the confrontation was then posted online to YouTube.
During court proceedings earlier this year, a psychologist who met with Fawcett described him as “psychologically naive and lacking insight.”
Crown prosecutor Rome Carot has described Fawcett as having been “obsessed” with the fictitious young girl, describing in text messages his plans for a life together.
“When you review all these text messages, it is disturbing to think Mr. Fawcett actually thought he was in a relationship with this 12-year-old,” Carot said. “He wanted to marry this 12-year-old and wanted to get her pregnant. … He poses a risk.”
Fawcett’s offence carries with it a mandatory prison sentence of at least six months. Defence lawyer Graham Kay said that sentence would be “cruel and unusual,” given Fawcett’s personal circumstances.
In court on Monday, Kay suggested Fawcett may not fare well in prison and suggested a four- to six-month sentence to be served in the community.
“We’ve heard people who commit these types of offences are often targeted for attacks,” Kay said. “Doug himself is quite afraid of being incarcerated.”
A date for a sentencing decision from Kamloops provincial court Judge Stella Frame has not been set. Fawcett has been free on bail for nearly two years.
If Fawcett is successful, Frame’s decision would be the latest in a series of lower-court rulings striking down tough-on-crime provisions put in place by Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a key portion of the Criminal Code section on child luring. In a unanimous decision, by a vote of 9-0, the nation’s highest court struck down the statutory presumption that an adult on a chat site automatically believed the person to whom they were talking to when that person stated their age. The ruling now means the Crown must prove the belief of the adult as it pertained to the age of the person to whom they were speaking.
The decision stems from an appeal by Douglas Morrison, a Toronto man who was arrested and charged after he engaged in sexually explicit conversation online with a police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl. Morrison had posted an ad on the Craiglist website, noted it had rules that users must be 18 and over and claimed he was role-playing.