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B.C. man to be extradited to U.S. on charges of sexually assaulting stepdaughter

The B.C. Supreme Court is shown in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck The B.C. Supreme Court is shown in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A British Columbia man will be extradited to the United States, where he faces a possible life sentence if convicted of charges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted his stepdaughter, after losing his appeal of the extradition order Tuesday.

The accused, who is identified in court documents as J.L., has been sought by authorities in Utah for years after a warrant for his arrest was issued in June 2015.

The man is charged with continuously sexually assaulting his stepdaughter from June 2012 to June 2014, when the girl was 12 to 14 years old.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in St. George, Utah, where J.L. lived with the stepdaughter and her mother, to whom he was married at the time.

According to court documents, the stepdaughter told her mother about the alleged abuse in June 2014, but the allegations were not reported to police until the following November.

The accused left Utah the same day that the allegations were reported to police, prompting U.S. authorities to charge that he "fled" to Canada to escape repercussions, according to affidavits provided to the court.

J.L. denied that the move had anything to do with the accusations, saying he was already planning to return to Canada that day because his marriage had ended.

He testified that he returned to Canada and, after freely travelling to several countries on his Canadian passport, settled in with his parents in Sooke, B.C., where he obtained a B.C. driver's licence.

His parents told the court that at no time did law enforcement contact them in an effort to locate their son until a B.C. Supreme Court judge issued a provisional warrant for his arrest and he voluntarily surrendered to police in June 2020.

J.L. argued unsuccessfully that the five-year delay in seeking his extradition to the U.S. on the charges was contrary to the principles of fundamental justice under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Early last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge rejected his argument and ordered J.L. back into custody after the federal justice minister granted the U.S. extradition request.

J.L. appealed the order in B.C.'s highest court, arguing first that the delayed extradition request constituted an abuse of process, and secondly, that the lengthy prison sentence he faces if convicted in the U.S. versus in Canada is unjust.

B.C. Appeal Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein upheld the minister's extradition decision, finding no merit to the claims that the delay in the proceedings or the threat of a lengthy prison sentence were contrary to Canadian principles of justice.

"The minister found the appellant’s likely U.S. sentence would be between 41.33 years to life imprisonment, compared to a likely sentence in Canada of six to nine years' imprisonment." Stromberg-Stein summarized in her decision.

"The minister concluded that the disparity was not so great 'as to tip the balance in favour of concluding that surrender would be unjust or oppressive or shock the Canadian conscience.'" Top Stories

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