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Man sentenced to 5 years in prison in decades-old B.C. sexual assault 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.
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Warning: This story includes details of a sexual assault that readers may find disturbing.

A man has been handed his sentence in a decades-old case after being convicted of sexual assault and break-and-enter.

Christopher Sharafi, who is also known as Mohammed Mendi Sharafi, was sentenced to five years in prison for each offence, which he will serve concurrently.

The offences stem from an 2001 incident, when Sharafi broke into a Richmond, B.C., home on Dec. 2 of that year. At a trial last year, the court heard the victim, identified by the initials I.F.K. as her identity is protected by a publication ban, woke up in the early hours to find a man standing in her bedroom.

"The room was dark. The man, whom she did not recognize, lay on the bed beside her. There was a struggle. He punched her and pulled her off the bed. While holding her down, he pulled off her pyjama bottoms and panties and pulled down his jeans," Justice Nitya Iyer's decision said, adding that the woman was then raped without a condom. 

As soon as the victim believed the man had left her home, she fled to a nearby convenience store and called police.

In a news release Wednesday, Richmond Mounties said they were unable to identify a suspect at the time, in spite of "a thorough and extensive investigation into this matter." DNA evidence was kept on file for the suspect, and was matched in 2015 when Sharafi was arrested on unrelated matters.

Sharafi was charged in 2020 and convicted in late 2023.

"We wish to commend the victim on the courage she has demonstrated throughout this entire ordeal. She has been unwavering in seeing the offender brought to justice despite having to relive these traumatic events. We recognize how difficult it can be for victims to report offences to police, especially sexual assaults," said Richmond RCMP Insp. Michael Cohee in a news release.

"With the support of the victim from this heinous act, we are sharing this incident in the hopes of encouraging anyone who has been victimized to come forward in the hopes of seeking justice for them."

If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to support people in crisis:

If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.

A full list of sexual assault centres in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counselling can be found on the website for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.

Helplines, legal services and locations that offer sexual assault kits in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia can be found here

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