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B.C. man sentenced for harassment, 'brazen breaches' in stalking case

A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C. A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C.

A B.C. man who stalked a woman he became "obsessed with" was convicted of 11 crimes including criminal harassment, attempted break-and-enter and "serial breaches" of no-contact conditions, according to a recently published judgment.

In March, 40-year-old Yakup Cetin was sentenced to 66 months in prison for the offences. In a February trial he pleaded guilty to six counts in the case, was convicted of an additional five and acquitted on two.

Cetin first met the victim, whom CTV News is not naming, in March of 2021 when working as a live-in maintenance contractor in her building. The stalking behaviour that resulted in the criminal charges continued until October of 2021 when Cetin "managed to send (the woman) one further letter from jail," the court heard.

"(The victim) has been profoundly affected by Mr. Cetin's crimes. Her overall sense of safety, security and well-being has been shaken immensely. She now feels violated, fearful, unsafe, vulnerable and fears for her life," the sentencing decision says, referring to the impact statement submitted to the court.

THE HARASSMENT

Justice Michael Tammen's trial decision offers a timeline of the events leading up to the victim's first police report.

"The backdrop to all the allegations is Mr. Cetin's fixation, perhaps obsession, with (the victim) and his insistence that he loves her and wishes to marry her," the decision says.

Cetin asked the woman out on several occasions and left flowers and candy at her door. The court documents say she told him she was not interested in a romantic relationship, and he said in a text exchange that he "understood."

Nevertheless, he sent her another dinner invitation, which she ignored.

Tammen points out that criminal harassment is defined in law as repeated, persistent and unwanted communication or contact that causes someone to fear for their safety or the safety of others known to them. In addition, the accused has to know the contact is unwelcome or be "reckless or wilfully blind to that fact," the judge said.

After the dinner invitation was ignored, the court heard, Cetin must have known further communication was unwelcome.

"Rather than cease communicating, Mr. Cetin commenced nightly calls in which he said nothing, conduct which is a classic form of persistent, repeated communication," Tammen said.

"I do not accept his explanation that the hang up calls are in any way normal behaviour. He knew (the victim) would be tormented by those calls.”

Police were first called on March 30 when Cetin showed up at the victim's apartment uninvited while she had people over. Around midnight, while her guests were there, she received several phone calls during which no one spoke. A male neighbour answered one of these calls and heard nothing. Soon after, that same neighbour answered the door and it was Cetin, who showed up claiming he was investigating a gas leak.

After Cetin left, the male neighbour got a call on his cell phone from a man screaming and threatening to kill him, saying the victim was "his," the court decision says. The victim called the police and Cetin was arrested. Cetin pleaded guilty to uttering threats in connection with this incident.

After his arrest and release on conditions that he have no further contact with the victim or the neighbour, Cetin continued to call and text the woman. She described the messages as "ominous" and "really disturbing," and said they caused her "absolute panic".

Tammen ruled that not only were these messages a breach of his bail conditions, but they also constituted further criminal harassment. He was arrested on April 23 for multiple breaches and held for just over a month.

BREAK-IN ATTEMPT AND 'BRAZEN' BREACHES

Hammen's sentencing decision notes Cetin again breached bail conditions on August 31 of 2021 by going to the place the victim worked. He was arrested for this and then released the next day.

Three days later, around midnight, Cetin tried to break into the victim's apartment.

"The circumstances of the attempted break and entry could scarcely be more alarming. The accused attempted to gain entry to (the victim's) personal living space in the dead of night. He was bound by a court order to have no contact with (her) and not to attend anywhere in that city block," Hammen wrote.

"Only Mr. Cetin knows what further unlawful act or acts he intended to commit had he succeeded in gaining entry," the decision continues.

Arrested again for breaching his bail conditions and facing new charges, Cetin remained behind bars until October 18 when he was released on conditions that he reside at a designated facility and wear an ankle monitor.

"The accused, as he had planned to do, breached all the important terms of that release order almost immediately," Hammen said, adding that Cetin went to the victim's workplace intending to "confront her," but instead sent her a note and flowers.

After the arrest for that incident Cetin was not released again, but he did manage to commit one more breach while in custody by sending the victim a letter.

The "brazen nature of the breaches" was one of the factors Hammen cited as aggravating when handing down his sentence. In addition, the judge noted that Cetin showed a lack of insight into the harm he had caused and that the prospect for rehabilitation seemed "rather dim."

After receiving credit for time served, Cetin was sentenced to 36 months in prison. 

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