A Chilliwack prolific offender’s appeal of his convictions for sexual assault and attempted robbery were dismissed by the province’s highest court on Tuesday.
John Frederick Field had received a sentence of nearly six years for what were relatively minor crimes because the 58-year-old has been such a repeat offender having spent 32 of his 40 adult years behind bars.
Field was convicted of a failed robbery and a break-and-enter where he got $100, and a sexual assault where he ended up getting kicked in the groin.
In 2020, Crown counsel Henry Waldock asked for a nine-year prison sentence because of Field’s substantial criminal history. Specifically, Waldock asked the judge to impose three, three-year sentences to run consecutively.
Justice Thomas Crabtree sentenced Field on Aug. 21, 2020 to two years and three months of time served on top of the 825 days he had spent in pre-trial custody.
The sentence seemed long given the circumstances, which involved a series of criminal errors.
In 2018, Field sneaked on to the ground floor balcony of a Chilliwack man’s apartment. The man was home sleeping in a chair by the door, and Field stole his wallet and keys. Field then went down to the parking garage clicking the key fob in an attempt, presumably, to steal the vehicle. But the victim had parked on the street that day so Field failed. He got $100 out of the wallet, then he tried to car-jack a woman in the parking garage but failed.
For those two crimes he was convicted of break and enter and attempted robbery.
He then went to find a place to snort crystal meth. He found his way into a commercial building where he confined a woman in her office. He ingested his meth, masturbated in front of the woman and told her to take off her clothes. She told him to get out. He lunged at her, touched her chest and she kicked him in the groin, then in the backside on the way out the door.
For that he was convicted of sexual assault.
Field appealed the attempted robbery and sexual assault conviction, but both were dismissed by the three-member B.C. Court of Appeal on May 31 in Vancouver.
Field argued that the judge at trial Justice Crabtree “misapprehended the encounter with the driver of the vehicle,” such that the Crown had not proven the intent to steal the vehicle. He approached the vehicle in the parking garage three times holding the fob to another vehicle, a fob he had stolen earlier.
His lawyer argued that just because he was trying to steal a car, it was not proven he was trying to steal the car driven by the complainant whose car he approached three times and banged on her window.
But the Appeals Court justices found that conviction was not based on a misapprehension of the witness’s evidence, and rather found that the judge properly considered the evidence.
As for the sexual assault, Field did not challenge the factual findings but argued the judge missapplied the legal standard. The legal test includes the fact that where an assault does not involve actual sexual conduct, the degree of “power and domination” is important as a factor for determining guilt of sexual assault. Field argued because he was kicked by the woman, not only was there no sexual touching, there was no power and domination on his part.
But the Appeals Court disagreed with the legal argument made by the appellant, pointing out that he was actually acquitted of unlawful confinement.
The justice, reading the decision in dismissing the appeal, said the “circumstances were of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of [the victim] was violated.”
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