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No jail time for sex offence

Drunk after a night of partying, Jason Hoffman tried to force himself on the 17-year-old girl sleeping on the couch at a friend’s house.

It was Sept. 1, 2008, shortly before his 25th birthday, when the muscular Hoffman climbed on top of the girl and began to grope her.

At first she thought it was a friend, but when she quickly realized it was Hoffman, she immediately objected to his clumsy advances.

But Hoffman continued to sexually assault her, said Crown prosecutor Bruce Goddard on Wednesday in Campbell River provincial court.

The incident was described at the low end of seriousness in sexual offences, but the ordeal had long-term effects on the girl.

“It has changed her life. It was hard for her to deal with this,” noted Goddard.

He added that she suffers from ongoing emotional and trust issues which affects her relationships with friends and romantic interests.

Hoffman was arrested after authorities were alerted, but he apparently didn’t take the charge seriously and claimed he didn’t use any force

That finally changed, said defence lawyer Doug Marion, during his prolonged trial which began in November 2009, resumed in June 2010 and finally concluded with a guilty verdict last October.

“He could see after the victim testified that it was not consensual,” Marion told Judge Alan Gould.

The court heard that Hoffman was raised by a good family, but then began partying and drinking to excess.

Judge Gould remarked that Hoffman led a “charmed life” and avoided run-ins with the law until he committed the sexual assault.

“This is a serious matter, sir…you really scared this girl,” the judge said.

However, following his arrest and release on bail, Hoffman abided by a no-alcohol condition. He also moved to Alberta to work and became involved in a healthy relationship. His current girlfriend sat in the public gallery during his sentencing and wiped away tears as the hearing proceeded.

“I’m sorry for the harm I caused,” Hoffman told the court.

According to forensic and pre-sentence reports, Hoffman is unlikely to reoffend provided he continue to take counselling. He received a one-year conditional sentence, meaning he won’t serve any jail time as long as he follows the court’s orders.

That includes more counselling, a year of probation to follow the conditional sentence and no drinking.

Hoffman was also ordered to provide a DNA sample to the national police registry and his name is now on the national sex offender registry.

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