CRANBROOK, B.C. – A convicted child abductor could spend the rest of his life in prison if a British Columbia Supreme Court judge declares him a dangerous offender today.
More than two years after Randall Hopley abducted a three-year-old boy from his home in Sparwood, B.C., Justice Heather Holmes is to deliver her decision on the Crown’s application to keep Hopley in prison indefinitely.
Hopley could be declared a long-term offender instead. That would mean a regular sentence combined with a specific period of supervision in the community afterwards of up to 10 years.
A forensic psychiatrist told a sentencing hearing in Cranbrook, B.C., last month that Hopley is a “high risk” to reoffend if he’s released from prison.
Dr. Emlene Murphy tested him a year ago after the Crown announced it would proceed with a dangerous offender application. She reviewed several reports on Hopley, 48, starting from when he was 15 and sexually assaulted young children while he was living in a foster home.
“The previous reports were more helpful than interviewing Mr. Hopley,” she told the hearing. “When it comes to future risks of reoffending, the best criteria is past history.”
Kienan Hebert was abducted in the middle of the night from the second-floor bedroom of his family’s unlocked home in Sparwood, a small southeastern B.C. town, in September 2011.
His parents issued an emotional public plea to the boy’s abductor, asking whoever had taken their son to leave him in a safe place.
Shortly after, an anonymous 911 caller told police where to find Kienan — back at his home.
Hopley pleaded guilty to breaking into the house and abducting the boy. He has always said he never harmed or sexually assaulted Kienan. The Crown has presented no evidence that he did.
The hearing heard that Hopley, a B.C. resident, entered foster care when he was 10 and remained there until he was 19. During that time, there were numerous convictions for sexually assaulting pre-pubescent children. That led to a diagnosis of pedophilia.
Tests determined he has an IQ between 59 and 73. The IQ rate for someone considered of normal intelligence is around 100.
There were also some signs of anti-social behaviour.
One of the tests places individuals into categories measuring the reoffending rate of former sex offenders. Hopley was rated as a sex offender at a high risk to assault again.
“He matches a group who have a reoffending rate in five years of 20 per cent,” Murphy told the hearing. “In 10 years, the number is 27 per cent. He’s up there as a high risk of reoffending.”
She said Hopley was unwilling to discuss details about his sexual behaviour and would only be interested in attending counselling sessions if his time behind bars were reduced.
If declared a dangerous offender, Hopley could face an indeterminate prison sentence with no chance of parole for seven years.
Crown prosecutor Lynal Doerksen said, accounting for time already served, a range of seven to nine years behind bars would be appropriate, followed by a 10-year long-term supervision order, similar to parole with strict conditions.
Defence lawyer Bill Thorne has urged the court to reject a dangerous offender designation. He instead argued for a sentence of two years, which would include credit for time served.
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