Manitoba’s highest court has extended a convicted child molester’s five-year sentence by three years, dismissing his claims that his “cognitive deficits” reduced his responsibility for his crimes.
Patrick Sinclair pleaded guilty in 2020 to online luring, extortion and creating child pornography after five years of committing crimes against a dozen children in the United States and Canada.
Sinclair, 28, appealed his sentence, arguing, among other things, that his “moral guilt” for his crimes was compromised by an intellectual disability, an autism spectrum disorder and a possible diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
The Manitoba Court of Appeals recently ruled in a written decision that Sinclair was fully aware that his actions were wrong.
“Indeed, the evidence confirmed that the defendant employed a degree of sophistication in manipulating the victims and that he understood exactly what he was doing and the seriousness of his offence,” Justice Freda Steel wrote on behalf of the High Court.
“Indeed, the evidence confirmed that the defendant employed a degree of sophistication in manipulating the victims and that he understood exactly what he was doing and the seriousness of his offense.”– Judge Freda Steel
Sinclair told one victim he would post intimate pictures of her online if she didn’t comply with his demands. He went on to post her name and full social media profile, Steel said. Sinclair’s threats to another victim were “calculated and detailed, showing insight, planning, and forethought.
“All of these factors suggest that the defendant’s moral guilt was high,” Steel said.
“The cognitive deficits of the defendants in this case were certainly factors that the court had to consider,” she said. “However, the deficiencies that the defendant has and the impact they have on the sentence inflicted are far outweighed by the need to protect and protect the public.”
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Sinclair and the Crown each appealed the verdict handed down by Judge Alain Huberdeau of the provincial court. Sinclair’s defense argued it was too high and the Crown said it was too low. The Court of Appeal’s ruling was the same as originally recommended by the Crown.
Sinclair was sentenced to two years of supervised probation in October 2015 in connection with the molestation of a teenage girl. At that point, he had been luring children online for more than three years, behavior that continued until his arrest in October 2017.
Sinclair contacted the victims, all but one of whom lived in the United States, through online chat groups before switching to Skype, where he secretly recorded them as they gave in to his sexual demands.
“The deficiencies that the defendant has and the impact they have on the sentence inflicted are far outweighed by the need to protect and protect the public.”– Judge Freda Steel
It was a US victim who, after Sinclair threatened to expose her online, contacted local police. The girl gave police Sinclair’s first name and said he was from Winnipeg. Investigators traced his IP address to his home in rural Manitoba.
Police seized Sinclair’s electronic devices, which contained 80 pornographic images of the victims and 37 videos. Police were only able to identify four of the 12 girls, the youngest of whom was 13 years old.
Police also found Nazi material in his bedroom and on his computer. The court heard evidence that he had told at least one of his victims that he was a Nazi.
Sinclair claimed that the sentencing judge wrongly viewed the Nazi-related evidence as an aggravating factor in the conviction and argued on appeal that it had nothing to do with the crimes for which he was convicted.
“Given the number and nature of the aggravating circumstances in this case, it cannot reasonably be assumed that the defendant’s racial beliefs played a significant role in the imposition of the sentence,” Steel said.
The court was told Sinclair never had a job and lived a “reclusive” life at his foster parents’ home before he was taken into custody.
Someone once said that a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good process.
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