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No taking back guilty plea

September 28, 2016 2:02 P.M.
(Carmen Weld/Castanet)

By CARMEN WELD

VERNON — Over four years after the incident took place, a Vernon man's attempt at withdrawing his sex assault and forcible confinement guilty pleas for the second time was denied Wednesday morning.

The 54-year-old man, whose name is protected under a publication ban to protect the identity of the victim, had pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a knife, unlawful confinement and assault with a weapon, stemming from an incident on Aug. 14, 2012, where he had tied up his former girlfriend and sexually assaulted her with a knife.

The accused said he has no memory of any sexual assault taking place.

Originally, the man had pleaded not guilty, but after hearing the victim's testimony on March 18, 2014, he changed his plea to guilty.

On Oct. 3, 2014, the man then made an application to withdraw his plea, which the judge granted, saying the accused guilty plea was not voluntary. The judge declared a mistrial.

In January 2015, the accused attempted to commit suicide.

A pyschiatric assessment that followed found he suffers from borderline personality disorder, anti-social personalty disorder, substance abuse disorder, chronic depressive syndrome and chronic suicidal ideation.

On June 16, 2015, during his second trial, the accused, changing his mind again, entered a guilty plea to the three counts he was facing.

When this guilty plea was submitted, the judge asked the accused directly to confirm that he was making the plea voluntarily and no one was pressuring him to make the plea, to which he said yes.

The man, who remains in custody, was in court Wednesday to, once again, withdraw his guilty plea.

Justice Frank Cole denied his application, saying that, despite taking into account the man's “frail mental and emotional condition,” his June 2015 plea was voluntary.

“These proceedings have taken place over a period of four years; it is my view that the complainant is entitled to have closure,” said Justice Cole. “It is also my view that society has an interest in seeing that justice is done in a timely manner.”

The accused remains in custody as he awaits sentencing.  

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