(News Bulletin file)

Vancouver Island restaurant owner sentenced for sexual interference with a minor

Talal El Bakkar sentenced in Nanaimo court to nine months’ jail time

The owner of a downtown Nanaimo restaurant has been handed a three-month jail sentence for an incident involving sex with a minor.

Talal El Bakkar, 66, pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a person under 16 in provincial court in Nanaimo on Friday. Judge Douglas Cowling sentenced El Bakkar to prison time to be served on weekends, as well as a three-year probation order.

The identity of the minor, as well as some of the circumstances, are protected, but during sentencing, it was revealed the incident occurred in June 2015 after the girl had texted Bakkar, telling him she had been at a party and drinking and requested a ride home. It was decided she would spend the night at Bakkar’s residence. He admits to engaging in sexual intercourse with her. The victim was 15 years old at the time, but El Bakkar claimed she had said she was 19 years old, something Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, said the victim had denied.

El Bakkar didn’t have a previous criminal record and during sentencing, Michael Ritzker, defence counsel, said that his client had been subject to attacks mounted against his client by “self-righteous social justice warriors” through social media and vandalism to his property. He was attacked by a person wielding a knife outside his restaurant, Aladdin’s Café, but wasn’t harmed, and businesses cancelled contracts with the café.

A pre-sentence report detailed how El Bakkar had suffered a number of head injuries, including an incident in January 2004, when he was found lying on the ground, bleeding and unconscious. According to the pre-sentence report, family members said that El Bakkar’s behaviour changed after this;he was described as a shell of his former self, has a temper sometimes and rambles.

Ritzker said his client was ashamed, and submitted letters and called on witnesses to speak in favour of El Bakkar. Long-time Nanaimo resident Mike Gogo, who has known El Bakkar for 20 years, said he couldn’t speak to the offences, but told Cowling of numerous instances of El Bakkar’s generosity, including an instance when he gave food to a person who had been searching in the restaurant’s dumpster.

Ritzker also pointed out that El Bakkar has been on probation for the past three years and has abided by the rules.

As part of El Bakkar’s probation, he may not hire people under 16 years of age to work at his restaurant. He can’t be in the presence of someone 16 years old or under unless they are in the presence of a parent or it is incidentally at his business. He may not take a paid or volunteer position where he is in a position of trust with people under 16 years of age. He must not have any contact with the victim. He will also be required to be registered on the national sexual offender registry for 10 years and must follow a curfew order (between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.) for nine months.

Mascolo said the victim didn’t respond to messages, take part in the pre-sentence report, nor provide a victim impact statement.

Note: Previous version had incorrect information regarding sentencing.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Moen tapped to run for Green Party in North Island riding

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

VIDEO: Save Wild Salmon demonstrators march in Campbell River

March to put pressure on federal government to fulfill Cohen report recommendations

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

NDP candidate Babchuk a fixture in local politics since 2005

School trustee, city councillor and regional district chair sets sights on being North Island MLA

Multiple incidents of bear-spraying investigated

Police are investigating multiple incidents of people being bear sprayed on Sept.… Continue reading

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read